Work will soon get underway on Hilltops Council’s new state-of-the-art sports and function centre development at the Boorowa Showground, following the official sod turning at the site on Friday.

Hilltops Council Mayor Brian Ingram, together with other members of Hilltops Council were joined by NSW State Member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward MP, and Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart.

Mayor Ingram said the project forms the centrepiece of the Boorowa Showground Masterplan.

“The two-storey building will house amenities, storage areas and a canteen on the ground level, with a function area on the first floor featuring a bar, along with viewing and lounge areas,” Mayor Ingram said.

“The development is funded by reserves that had been set aside by the former Boorowa Council, along with $100,000 from the Boorowa Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank, and a $1 million grant from the State Government under a previous round of the ‘ClubGRANTS’ Program,” he said.

Mayor Ingram said once the demolition of the existing buildings is complete, construction work on the new $1.6 million facility is expected to get underway before the end of the month, with the project due for completion in early 2018.

“The Hilltops Region has a growing reputation as a regional sporting hub; the annual ‘Touch Football & Netball Carnival’ being held here at the Showground today, is an example of the types of events that will benefit from this development,” Mayor Ingram said.

“The new facility will certainly act as a drawcard for other regional sporting competitions, and to be able to host these sorts of events would inevitably bring an influx of visitors to the Hilltops Region, which would obviously provide a boost to the local economy, particularly in the tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors,” he said.

“The sporting hub will make Boorowa a regional sporting centre that will be great for the town’s economy as well as the community. I was thrilled the NSW Government’s ClubGRANTS could make this possible, and know just how happy this will make the Boorowa community,” State Member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward MP said.

The sod-turning followed a Canberra Raiders board meeting in Boorowa, with a proposal by the Canberra District Rugby League Club (CDRL) to build a Centre of Excellence in the ACT, discussed with mayors from throughout the Southern and Central West regions.

“As a member of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CBRJO), Hilltops Council is an important part of our broader regional community, which seeks to maximise the social and economic opportunities of our members for the collective benefit of residents within the entire Canberra region,” Chair of CBRJO, Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey said.

“The Boorowa sports and function centre development will be another jewel in the crown of this growing area. It’s a project that obviously has significant local importance for residents, as well as broader significance for the general region and beyond, and will certainly enhance partnership opportunities down the track with organisations like the CDRL,” she said.

“The Raiders are proud to be involved in not only the ACT but all of our surrounding regions,” Canberra Raiders Chief Executive Don Furner said.

“We’ve been making a concerted effort in ensuring we have a direct line of communication open with all of our regional partners as we look to establish a Centre of Excellence in Canberra which can service our regional footprint.

“Our aim is to provide kids from regional centres with an opportunity and pathway to elite sport, so they don’t have to leave their hometowns to participate in sport at the elite level.  Our board meeting today in Boorowa was to ensure we have had the chance to hear from the Hilltops Region and include them in our continued discussions,” he said.