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Activewest Stadium redevelopment completed ahead of official opening in February

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Youngsters enjoyed a basketball clinic with Geraldton Buccaneers stars Johny Narkle and Liam Hunt.
Camera IconYoungsters enjoyed a basketball clinic with Geraldton Buccaneers stars Johny Narkle and Liam Hunt. Credit: Lachlan Allen

The long-awaited Activewest Stadium redevelopment has been completed as the Geraldton Amateur Basketball Association wastes no time in putting the new facility to good use, ahead of an expected official opening in February.

A group of primary school children tested out the courts last Friday during a clinic hosted by Geraldton Buccaneers stars Liam Hunt and Johny Narkle.

The $4.5 million upgrade was announced as part of the McGowan Government’s election commitment in January 2021, with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries contributing $3.5m.

The GABA and City of Greater Geraldton pitched in $550,000 each.

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Two years on from that promise, Basketball WA regional development officer for the Mid West Dan Hunt said they had done a “fantastic job” and the finished facility was “exactly what we were hoping for.”

Mr Hunt believed the four extra courts would increase basketball participation and performance in Geraldton.

“There’s a lot of kids on a waiting list right now, that aren’t even allowed to play because we haven’t had the courts. Then we’ll also have more training time for development, so we would expect our skills to improve as well with more court time,” he said.

It’s not just the juniors who will benefit from the new stadium, with the Buccs also expected to reap the rewards.

“The Buccs also fight to find chances to train, now they can train whenever Dayle (Joseph) wants . . . the Buccs don’t kick juniors off courts, they encourage juniors to play, and so they had to wait their turn,” he said.

As the best facility in regional WA, according to Mr Hunt, it may just give the Buccs the extra edge to go one step further after falling agonisingly short last season.

Having played for the side in the 1990s, Mr Hunt said the proposed redevelopment had been talked about for more than two decades.

“A lot of people talked about and did their best, but this boards pulled it off. It’s the best feeling to walk in and see so many people playing basketball,” he said.

An informal discussion and information session on grief and loss was held on Friday night at Activewest Stadium in memory of Justyce Potaka-Kumeroa, followed by a scrimmage session. The 17-year-old died in a car crash on Marine Terrace on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, a tribute is planned when Olympians play Pumas on Tuesday at 7.30pm in the men’s division one competition.

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