Ambitious youth centre one step closer

The Winton Recreation Centre Master Plan has been mostly supported by locals.

By Michael R Williams

The wildly anticipated Winton Youth Centre has taken its next step towards actualisation.

The Winton Shire Council has begun consultation with locals as to what they want to see in the Master Plan for the centre, and Mayor Gavin Baskett said feedback was “99 per cent positive”.

This is the third such Master Plan made this year by the Winton Shire Council, after the Saleyards and Showgrounds Master Plans.

According to the Master Plan, the centre will include a rock-climbing wall and a space to watch movies, among many other sporting facilities.

It will also have a second purpose, to home tourists and locals caught out in a disaster such as a flood.

Due to maintenance costs, the Council has decided to disuse the current Youth Centre and to start a new more modern one.

“It would still be an old building, and we decided to start pursuing a new one,” Councillor Baskett said.

“But, people are looking forward to having the Youth Centre being up and running again.

“And both the external, the internal – everybody liked it [the current Youth Centre Master Plan].”

Councillor Baskett said despite an overall positive attitude towards the plan from locals, there was still some skepticism in the community over details in the plan.

“There were some people asking, ‘why have you done this? why have you done that? what about something else?’,“ he said.

“They were just making sure we’ve got sufficient toilets – all in all, it was positive.”

Councillor Baskett said locals can look forward to an enjoining indoor sports facility along with the traditional Youth Centre.

“There will be indoor Netball, Basketball, and Indoor Cricket – that will be phenomenal,” he said.

“The entry will be changing, so it will be coming from the Southern side of the footy field, not the Northern side.

“There will be a lot more structured car parking, a ‘bump track’ – a track for the kids to ride around on their pushbikes – and another big thing is the Cricket pitch will be rejuvenated and all will have a lawn.

“That will let us join into the Cricket comp with Barcaldine and Longreach.

“To add another layer there will be Athletics as well.”

Councillor Baskett emphasised the size of the project, with other ideas including renewing the Grand Stand, upgrading the Tennis Courts, and adding a shaded area and barbecue at the Skate Park.

“It’s just going to be a fantastic place for people to go,” he said.

“For young kids, older kids, and lots of different sports and recreation.”

A part of the Master Plan is already being undertaken with a “doubling of the size” of the gymnasium, which will allow more space for Zumba and other class exercises.

Councillor Baskett said the Master Plan was about improving the quality of life for locals.

“Everything we do, and that includes the Water Park and upgrades to the Showgrounds and the Main Street is about trying to improve the liveability,” he said.

“You want to keep your youth, but you want to also pertain to families – and they sort of go hand-in-hand.

“So anything you can do that’s activities for the kids, activities for the adults – it just helps: a) maintain the population, and b) when people come out here for a job, and they see all these fantastic facilities that they want, that just ticks a box.

“We want to remove obstacles in front of people who want to move to Winton.”

Councillor Baskett said the Youth Centre would help maintain and grow the population in the Shire.

“It’s just so important for your school numbers, for your grocery shops, for your hotels, hardware – just for everything,” he said.

“You need to grow those just for businesses; it grows the rates base which is good for the local Council budget – which will pay for these facilities.”