Flinders Power funding boost for Hancock Stadium

HANCOCK STADIUM: The stadium was built about 50 years ago, with an additional basketball court, canteen, office and toilets added in 1976.
HANCOCK STADIUM: The stadium was built about 50 years ago, with an additional basketball court, canteen, office and toilets added in 1976.

A funding agreement between Flinders Power and the Port Augusta City Council is set to significantly increase the shelf life of Hancock Stadium.

Flinders Power have agreed to fund $224,400 worth of upgrades to the facility.

However, Council must first take back ownership of Hancock Stadium from the Port Augusta Basketball Association - an ongoing agreement between the two organisations.

The deal will increase Council's annual deficit by $86,000 per year, a cost that Council have decided is a fair trade for overall community benefit.

"The increase and the annual deficit of $86,000 is concerning to me. However, that being said I understand and realise the long term benefits of this coming under Council ownership and the need for this facility," Cnr Linley Shine said during last night's council meeting.

"It's very rare that we would decline external funding, and I do acknowledge that its not compulsory for us to accept it, but like Bird Lake or Central Oval resurfacing we must assess the implications for doing so when we are looking at accepting funding coming in," Cnr Matt Leonard added.

"An opportunity to improve the amenity of our town is too good to pass up. The rejuvenation of Hancock Stadium along with potential funding for Central Oval resurfacing, coupled with the completion of the toilet block ... will ensure that Central Oval sporting precinct has a visual sense of completion."

A report prepared by Tonkin Consulting outlined the scope of work necessary to upgrade the 50 year old facility.

The structural backbone of the building, although in need of some repairs, is still sound and will remain sound for many years to come.

Upgrades include repairs to the old grandstand, toilets, lighting, roof and walls - as well as a very welcome replacement evaporative air conditioning system.

"This stadium was earmarked to be demolished some eight years ago when Central Oval upgrades were taking place and it wasn't, because it was discussed at the time about the importance of it being utilised by smaller groups in the community," Deputy Mayor Phillip Brown said.

"It also gives the city six indoor courts that can be used during carnivals because previously to the Central Oval upgrade if there was a basketball carnival on it was at three different locations.

"So with the three at Central Oval, two at Hancock and one at Braddock Park, it actually gives us a great, versatile community hub."

Flinders Power will be further dipping into their Regional Development Fund to beautify the outside of the stadium and for new signage to be installed acknowledging their contribution.

The facility will also be renamed from the "Furnace" to the "Flinders Power Furnace", with memorabilia displayed within the stadium.

The work is expected to take take place over the next two to three years.