Cessnock Council bids for funding for skate park, splash pad in Stronger Country Communities Fund round three

Four major youth-focused projects, including a new regional skate park, are on Cessnock City Council's wishlist in an upcoming NSW Government grant program.

Councillors unanimously voted on Wednesday to endorse a submission for four projects in round three of the government's Stronger Country Communities Fund (SCCF).

The projects include a new skate park, a splashpad for Cessnock Pool, a commercial kitchen at Cessnock Youth Centre and Outreach Service (CYCOS) and replacement of sporting amenities at Birralee Park, Kurri Kurri.

The proposed $1.6 million skate park earmarked for Mount View Park (The Basin) would incorporate a concrete flow style bowl, street style course, seating ledges, viewing deck, trees, pathways, car parking, lighting, drainage, picnic facilities including a drinking fountain, shade and shelters.

Speaking on the motion, councillor Rod Doherty made mention of former councillor Cordelia Troy, who raised the idea for a new skate park in the last council term.

"I can clearly remember Cordelia's last speech, how disappointed she was that in the years she'd been on council that this particular skate park hadn't progressed," Cr Doherty said.

"It's good to see now that the skate park has taken a priority and hopefully when the grants are announced the skate park may get a guernsey."

Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said the city's current skate park facilities "need an upgrade".

A design for the new skate park was adopted after feedback was sought from school students, industry professionals and other interested community members at workshops in 2017.

The skate park is the only project of the four valued at more than $1 million, meaning council would need to contribute at least 25 per cent of the cost ($400,000).

The council report said the money would be drawn from funds in reserve for the purpose of attracting grant funding if the application is successful.

The pool splash pad would incorporate slides, fountains, tipping buckets, soft fall, shade and associated plant and equipment. The estimated cost is between $800,000 and $1 million - $242,355 of which was received in round two of the SCCF.

"It would give a vast diversity to the pool, a bit of a re-birth," Cr Pynsent said.

The kitchen at CYCOS, valued between $60,000 and $80,000, was identified in council's 2019/20 operational plan and would enable "the delivery of healthy cooking and youth life skills programs", according to the council report.

Works at Birralee Park involve demolition of existing amenities and replacement with a "fit for purpose" facility including toilets, change rooms and referee rooms, a first aid room, storage and kiosk. The project is valued at $800,000.

Council was successful in obtaining funding for several projects in rounds one and two of the SCCF, and Cr Pynsent was hopeful of making it three from three.

The government will provide $100 million in round three of the program, with at least half of that for youth-related projects.

Council has been allocated $991,059 this time around, down from $1,705,986 in round two. The four projects chosen all have a "youth emphasis", Cr Pynsent said.

"We need more activities for our young people," he said. "Anything we can do to assist youth would be of benefit to the community."