What is the Heffron Centre?

    The Heffron Centre is a state-of-the-art multipurpose community facility which includes:

    • An Indoor multi-purpose facility with two indoor sports halls to accommodate sports such as netball, basketball, badminton, volleyball and futsal.
    • A Gymnastics facility.
    • South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Community and High-Performance Centre.
    • Parking for approximately 200 vehicles and bus parking.
    • Landscaping works generally to the site (including demolition of existing buildings).
    • A rugby league training field to NRL requirements.
    • Upgrades to lighting to the adjacent south west sports fields.

    How is the project being funded?

    Both Council and the Rabbitohs have achieved funding contributions through the State and Federal Governments to support the Project. 

    Contributions from Council and the Rabbitohs are being assessed through development of the design and in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. Council will inform the community when further information is available.

    Why is this continuing during COVID-19?

    Council is committed to support our local economy including stimulating spending and employment through important capital works. We are continuing to engage with the community on important decisions and plan for our future safely through online, digital activities and printed materials.

    Read more about Councils response to COVID-19.

    What is the land lease agreement?

    Heffron Park is crown land, under the management, care and control of Randwick City Council. Council will own the Heffron Centre facilities, with a long-term lease of the Community & High Performance Centre to the Rabbitohs. The management of the Indoor Multi-Purpose Facility and Gymnastics Centre is currently being considered by Council. 

    Further information is available in the Council Meeting Business Paper, Agenda and Minutes from 26 February 2019.

     

    What is a Public Private Partnership and why is this being used for this project?

    A Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a formal collaboration between Council and a private person or organisation to deliver infrastructure, facilities or services. It enables Council to deliver public infrastructure or facilities and services which it may not otherwise have been able to do on its own.

    Council is required adhere to the Local Government Act 1993, PPP guidelines and submitted an assessment of the project to the Office of Local Government before the agreement was finalised. 

    The PPP has made available substantial funding sources through the Federal and State Government to realise the project, it is enabling Council to deliver a high-quality facility, provided cost-efficiencies and increased the return on investment.

    Why were Rabbitohs selected and not another sporting organisation?

    In 2010, Randwick City Council entered into a “Community Partnership” with the South Sydney Football Club (Rabbitohs). This partnership was developed to assist disadvantaged youth in the local area through the Souths Cares Community Program, and to foster a number of initiatives to promote improved health and fitness. Souths Cares community programs are designed to provide health, education and employment outcomes for the community, and at present have over 15,000 participants per annum.  The Rabbitohs are the only National Rugby League club to have developed a community partnership with Randwick City Council.

    Randwick City Council were approached by the Rabbitohs in 2013 to consider a request to relocate their training and administration facilities from Redfern Oval to Heffron Park Maroubra. Since then, the Rabbitohs have attracted substantial Federal and State Government funding to put towards the project, in addition to its own contribution. The involvement of the Rabbitohs’ will support community groups, schools and sporting teams to increase participation in sport and recreation, provide a base for the not-for-profit Souths Cares, opportunities to develop and support junior pathways in rugby league and provide a purpose-built home for the Rabbitohs supporting the Club’s long-term sustainability.

    Why Bunnerong Road and not Robey Street?

    Investigations were conducted to build the Heffron Centre on the Robey Street side of Heffron Park. However there were significant challenges identified included the land topography, size and scale, parking and view impacts. 

    The Bunnerong Road location provides opportunity for sharing facilities with the new indoor sports centre and gymnastics centre to reduce the building footprint and environmental impacts. It also creates design and construction efficiencies as extensive excavation would not be required and parking and transport benefits can be shared. 

    How will this impact Heffron Park, and current users both of the existing facilities and of the park?

    Heffron Park will remain operational and accessible during construction. The construction zone for the new Heffron Centre will be closed to the public. 

    Safety is paramount to Council and applies a “Zero harm. Zero incident” approach. A Construction Management Plan will be developed to plan the site preparation and construction delivery in a staged approach. 

    A number of environmental investigations will be completed due to the age of the buildings, and a Safety Management Plan will be developed for the project to ensure the safety of community, staff, employees and contractors during the project. 

    Council will consult closely with Matraville Sports Centre and Bunnerong Gymnastics to plan for the construction and delivery of the Heffron Centre. 

    How will Council ensure that the local character of the park is retained?

    Council is committed to engaging the community, users and sporting groups throughout the design of the project. We will review the findings from our community consultations including Open Space and Recreation Needs study and Our Community, Our Future survey to understand the aspirations and concerns of the local community.

    We are developing the Heffron Centre in alignment with the Plan of Management design principles and aim to reflect the history of the park, people and culture in our design.

    Why did it take so long? I’ve been hearing about this proposal since 2013.

    Council is committed to ensuring that an investment of this size is carefully considered. This required completing due diligence to ensure Council was making the most informed decisions on behalf of its community. This included budgeting and forecasting, population projections, research into the future of sport, economic feasibility and review by the Office of Local Government.

    Will I have to ‘pay’ for this development through increased costs/fees to my rates or through use of the facilities?

    The indoor sports centre and gymnastics centre are funded as part of the ‘Our Community Our Future’ Special Rate Variation which commenced in 2018-19 and the final rates increase of 5.52% concludes in 2020-21. Funding has also been received from the NSW Office Sport for the Indoor Sports Centre. Council’s contribution to the building of the Rabbitohs High Performance Centre is capped at $3M. 


    Why were these sports selected for the Heffron Centre?

    In planning for the Heffron Centre, Council undertook research to understand a range of sports participation data, current usage, future population growth, changing demographics and lifestyle changes. This research also considered how the facility could be designed to enable versatility and multi-use of the facility for a range of sports and other activities. Through the research and planning process Council has met with a number of state and local sporting groups to inform the research and design of the centre. This consultation is continuing through the project.

    Sports such as squash, racket ball and indoor cricket require specific equipment and materials which would limit the ability for the spaces to be used for other sports and recreational purposes

    It is anticipated the Heffron Centre will be serving the community for the next 30 years, therefore to ensure the long-term viability and best use of funds, Council is creating a multi-purpose sports centre to serve broad community needs and stand the test of time. 

    The indoor sports facility will accommodate netball, basketball, badminton, volleyball and futsal and in addition a dedicated gymnastics facility.

    What is the current program date for Souths to move from Redfern to new field?

    It is anticipated that the Rabbitohs will relocate to the Heffron Centre in late 2022, ready for the 2023 NRL Season.

    What will happen to the cycle track?

    There will be no impacts on the Heffron Park Criterium Cycle Track. The Cycle Track loops behind the proposed Heffron Centre and proposed showcase training field. The criterium is set to be upgraded as part of the Heffron Park Plan of Management.

    What will happen to Des Renford Leisure Centre and the pools?

    There will be no changes to the current operations of Des Renford Leisure Centre.
     

    Is a synthetic field proposed?

    No synthetic field is proposed. A turf rugby league training field will be developed that will meet NRL training requirements.

    Will there be an off leash dog area?

    There is no off leash dog area as part of this project. Visit Council’s website for details on Leash Free Parks in the local area.

    Have you considered an Underground car park.

    An underground carpark was considered throughout the planning and research. However, the cost to construct an underground carpark would not provide the best use of government funds and outcome for the community.

    How many parking spaces will be available?

    Approximately 200 parking spaces will be provided to support the Heffron Centre and wider Heffron Park uses. Bus parking and pick up / drop off zones will also be made available.

    Will the community be able to use the rugby league field?

    The field will be accessible to the community outside of the Rabbitoh’s training schedule. Randwick City Council may also use the field for community and sporting events.

    Will there be commercial space to lease for other community organisations as part of overflow of main centre? Will there be an ability for our local schools to utilise the classroom and theatre?

    As part of the Community and High-Performance Centre, a Souths Cares classroom will be included. This will be available for hire by all members of the community, through Souths Cares.

    When will it be completed?

    If approved, construction will commence in mid 2021 and estimated to take between 12-18 months.  It is anticipated the Heffron Centre will be open in late 2022.