Work has started at Heffron Park in Maroubra on a new High-Performance Centre for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, as the team gears up for its NRL grand final appearance against the Penrith Panthers this weekend.
Randwick City Council is appointed by DPIE – Crown Lands to manage Heffron Park as a Crown land manager overseeing more than 45 hectares of public land.
A new Plan of Management for Heffron Park has been approved that will ensure one of rugby league’s iconic clubs continues to thrive, while the wider community’s sporting, recreation and cultural needs are also met.
The plan includes the Council’s construction of the Heffron Centre. The $58 million project is a joint initiative of the Council and South Sydney Rabbitohs with part funding provided by the NSW Government ($11.8 million) and Federal Government ($10 million).
The Heffron Centre will house the Rabbitohs, as well as a community gymnastics centre twice the size of current facilities, and an indoor sports centre for netball, basketball, badminton, volleyball and futsal.
Construction of the Heffron Centre will generate 200 jobs and more than 60 ongoing jobs through the operation of the facility.
Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly said it would be a wonderful home for players, coaching staff and administration staff, as well as Souths Cares.
“This will allow us to expand upon the transformational projects and programs that they run for all of the people in our community but particularly those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged,” Mr Solly said.
Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the new facility will ensure everyone in the local community has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport.
“I’m delighted the NSW Government, through our Centres of Excellence Program, is supporting the delivery of world-class multi-purpose sporting facilities,” Mrs Ward said.
Heffron Park is of historic significance, having been used as a water source for early settlers, for farming in the 1900s, a naval storage facility in World War II, and now recreation and sport.
Randwick City Council Mayor Danny Said advised the park continues to hold special importance for the traditional custodians, the Bidjigal and Gadigal people.
“Heffron Park is also our largest sporting reserve for netball, rugby league, AFL, soccer, gymnastics, touch football, cricket, cycling, swimming, tennis, handball and basketball,” he said.
“It needs to support a growing population, with quality sporting facilities, green open space for passive recreation, and children’s playgrounds.
“A key aim is to ensure Heffron Park is environmentally sustainable. We are investigating opportunities for water harvesting and reuse, use of rainwater tanks and integrated natural water cycle design.”