WORK is underway on new synthetic pitches at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park, creating significant opportunities for the growth of football on the North Coast.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today inspected the works for the new synthetic pitches, costing $3 million, which are part of a wider redevelopment of the park.
The total cost of the redevelopment is $12.5 million, with $10 million coming from the State Government and $2.5 million from Coffs Harbour City Council.
The project will be completed in the second half of next year.
Football will be a significant user of the new pitches. Once opened, these will be the only synthetic pitches available for football between Newcastle and Lismore.
At present, North Coast Football uses turf pitches at C.ex Coffs International Stadium and Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park for community competitions, matches and training for National Premier League Youth, the Skills Acquisition Program (high-level youth training) and inter-regional gala days.
Football Federation Australia and Northern NSW Football are also users of the facilities for national and inter-regional tournaments.
The new pitches allow for year-round, all-weather use and pave the way for the development of new forms of football competition on the North Coast. They will also open the way for more inter-region competitions.
Significantly, these pitches will help Coffs Harbour make a case for it to be a base camp for a team coming to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Football is the largest organised team participation sport on the NSW North Coast with nearly 5000 players, coaches and volunteers active in 2020 across 24 clubs and close to 300 teams.
"These pitches herald a new era for football on the North Coast. We can be operational all year round on a high-quality surface," North Coast Football general manager Andrew Woodward said.
"We'll have far more to offer local players and can use them to attract more football to the region.
"The new pitches and amenities buildings will encourage more people to get involved in football. Quite simply, better facilities equal more and happier players.
"These new facilities at the home of football in Coffs Harbour will serve the area well for decades to come."