Football Mid North Coast obtain first green light from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council for Sovereign Hills

December 20th, 2017

Supportive: Newcastle Jets and players such as Joe Champness could be back in Port Macquarie regularly after council gave support to start planning for a new world-class facility at Thrumster. Photo: Matt Attard

Football Mid North Coast obtain first green light from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council for Sovereign Hills

THE journey has only just begun, but Football Mid North Coast are on their way to having a world-class facility built in Port Macquarie.

After an 18-month process, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council have given their approval to start planning for the proposed location at Thrumster.

Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons hopes the facility could be built by the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021.

“We’re 10 minutes into the game, but we’re up 1-0 so we’re in a good position,” Parsons said.

“We’re moving forward, we’re not parking the bus.”

Parsons and FMNC left Wednesday night’s council meeting with a much clearer idea of where their proposal was headed.

Read more: Football Mid North Coast confident Thrumster vision is more than a pipedream

Funds will be allocated from council’s budget to help with the planning of the facility which will then be put to state and possibly federal governments.

“We’re 10 minutes into the game, but we’re up 1-0 so we’re in a good position.”
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons

It was labelled as another watershed moment for football on the Mid North Coast and for FMNC.

“This is about more than a regional centre and a stadium for our participants,” Parsons said.

“For me, it’s about recognition and equity for our sport, our stakeholders and a legacy for our children and grandchildren.

“This is the thin edge of the wedge.”

The Newcastle Jets have indicated they would bring FFA Cup pre-season matches and possibly A-League matches to Port Macquarie should a facility get the necessary funding.

Read more: Potter urges council to support proposal for Thrumster

The Hyundai A-League has one regional round a year where teams take home fixtures outside of their normal area.

“We’re talking a stadium that would have a 5000 capacity and with an ability to improve that facility in terms of undercover seating as we move forward,” Parsons said.

“We want a facility that will not only host FFA A-League games, but A-League games and be able to host international trial matches.”
Mike Parsons

“We want a facility that will not only host FFA A-League games, but A-League games and be able to host international trial matches.”

With Australia planning to bid for the women’s World Cup in 2023, a facility at Port Macquarie could allow international teams to base themselves in the Hastings.

“There are a lot of exciting things ahead for us and this particular regional facility and stadium is the catalyst facilitator for so many benefits for the local area,” Parsons said.

The entire project could cost up to eight million dollars from start to finish.

“Conservatively we’re looking at four and a half to five million dollars,” Parsons said.

“But as we talk to various levels of funding opportunities it may blow out a little bit more in terms of the opportunity to build a once and for all facility.

“I’m anticipating anything between five and eight million dollars would give us the facility we require.”

The FMNC chairman said they had already been in discussions with local members and “various people at state level.”

“We’ll begin negotiations, but we’ll be led by the people that are expert at gathering these funds,” Parsons said.

“We’re not looking for any amber or green lights, it’s green lights all ahead.”

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