Wiigulga Sports Complex Recognised for Excellence

Published on 15 May 2023

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Wiigulga Sports Complex’s excellence as a sporting, community, inclusive and welcoming space has been recognised regionally with a place as a finalist in this year’s Parks and Leisure Australia Awards of Excellence in Albury.

“It’s rare for a new facility to really tick all the boxes with its core customers from the get-go, but Wiigulga has been outstanding,” said City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos.

“The sports facilities, play areas, versatile rooms, accessibility and café have not just met the needs of the Northern Beaches community and beyond, they’ve exceeded them beyond all expectations. It truly is a place for everyone where we can all gather, play, compete, practice, learn, perform and celebrate.”

The complex includes:

  • Junior and Senior size, multi-sport playing fields with lighting, primarily for use of local AFL and Cricket, accessible changing rooms and toilets, a running and cycle track, a pump track, playground and balance play equipment.
  • Indoors there is a café, the Sangeet rooms – a versatile suite of rooms that can be used for private gatherings, or yoga, dance, pilates and meetings - plus a full-sized commercial kitchen for hire, use at events or for training.
  • The centrepiece is the huge main sports hall which can be used for a whole range of indoor sport including basketball, pickleball, netball, volleyball, badminton and futsal. Arranged around the courts are accessible changing rooms, toilets, large LED video screens and a high-tech sensory room.
  • The sports hall also features a large performance stage and backstage complex including a green room and dressing rooms. The hall can accommodate more than 1,000 people in performance mode.

The project was driven by a grassroots community support and commitment to create an inclusive, vibrant and healthy community space for locals and visitors in the Northern Beaches area. It is the result of a detailed co-design process that engaged with key stakeholders from state sporting organisations, to local clubs and organisations and a community working group with representation from the local Chamber of Commerce, Garby (Gumbaynggirr) Elders, the Sikh community, local schools - particularly the adjacent Woolgoolga High School - and performing arts studios.

Traditionally a teaching place for the Gumbaynggirr people, the site of Wiigulga Sports Complex is an important cultural site. To ensure the Complex continues to be a place where the Gumbaynggirr community is recognised and celebrated, the City of Coffs Harbour’s Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Garby Elders were important stakeholders throughout the design and construction processes.  Following an open design process, Mullaway-based Gumbaynggirr artist Tulli Stevens’ piece ‘Gawbarri’ - which means ‘meet, get together, gather’ - was chosen to feature in the Complex and can be seen throughout.

Award winners will be announced on 18 May 2023.

The Wiigulga Sports Complex project received funding from the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund, the State Government and City of Coffs Harbour.