http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/11/18/271455_gold-coast-sport.htmlPearson's Olympic preparation faces hitBy Thomas Chamberlin
Gold Coast News
November 18th, 2010
Sally Pearson faces a bleak future on the Coast with her Gold Coast training track at Griffith University under threat.
SALLY Pearson's London Olympic hopes could be shattered by plans to build a 1200-space car park on the Gold Coast's only A-grade athletics track.
Australia's premier track queen has used Griffith University's as her training base since she was a child but the star and other 2012 London Games hopefuls could be left with nothing next year.
Sharon Hannan, track facility manager and coach of Pearson, said losing the track 'would be devastating.'
''We had four athletes from our Gold Coast Victory Athletics Club at the Commonwealth Games, we had another athlete from New Zealand who got the Bronze after Sally, we had athletes from Vanuatu in the 800m, and an athlete from Papua New Guinea in the AWD 100m.
''We're the biggest club in Queensland every year we have 260 athletes they have to have something for us,'' she said.
Crisis talks have been held between the Gold Coast City Council, the university and the Government after the State's releaved its intention to rip up the track, to accommodate hundreds of workers at the University Hospital at the new knowledge precinct at Southport.
The council built the track and facilities at the university and entered into a 20-year lease, which expires at the end of 2017, but Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Stirling Hinchliffe last night confirmed the Government could resume the land if necessary.
''We'd have to contemplate that circumstance when we came to it. We are wanting to work through with all the parties that have a stakehold in this cooperatively. The state has powers available to it in order to achieve outcomes in the state's broader interest,'' he said.
''But we don't use those powers without good reason and without contemplating and exploring alternatives.''
Mayor Ron Clarke said the State Government was abandoning athletes who were training for the Olympic Games by not having transitional facilities already constructed.
The State Government has offered to replace the track at the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre, which was purchased this year by Education Queensland in July, however Cr Clarke said it would take months for it to be upgraded.
It is a laid mondo track, which has deteriorated and is tougher than the Griffith track which is softer for athletes to use for training.
There have also been concerns that other facilities in Carrara would not be built until 2013.
''No one seems to understand the importance of a track coming up to the Olympic Games,'' he said.
''Being in that position previously myself is why I've been screaming so much.''
Council's chief executive officer Dale Dickson said a report would be taken to next Monday's council meeting but would not disclose what options the council would consider.
Griffith University Gold Coast provost Max Standage said the university was not the driving force behind building the car park but said the organisation would not stand in the way if a compromise could be reached.
Despite the university owning the land, he said the council was the only body that could end the lease, and that the athletics track was the only site on the university that would 'stack up' in the timeframe required to cope with the influx of workers.
______________________________________________________________________________________YOUR SAY comments to the Gold Coast News website
My daughter is a national class runner and runs on that track all the time , it is the ONLY synthetic track available for her to compete and train on to help improve her running. We live on the Tweed and we don't even have any thing south of the border (as far down as Newcastle)to run on so don't take away the Only decent A-Grade running track these future athletic stars have to use PLEASE!!!!!Posted by: Donna 11:56pm Friday 19th NovemberComment 1 of 19
Boo Hoo... So she doesn't want a 1200 space car park (desperately needed at the Uni) just so she doesn't have to travel somewhere else to train??? There's another quality track facility at Runaway Bay not 10min away. Hard up woman.Posted by: Eric Carr of Hope Island 05:16pm Friday 19th NovemberComment 2 of 19
This is totally ubelieveable, I thought we were supposed to be encouraging the next generation to stay healthy. For us in northern nsw is it the best thing to be able to compete with like minded children and adults. Get your priorities right, think outside the square, don't lose such a valuable venue where lives are changed by such a simple thing called athletics.Posted by: kim of far north coast nsw 11:39am Friday 19th NovemberComment 3 of 19
Not only do athletes from the Gold Coast area use the track but athletes from as far south as Grafton use the GC track as preparation for competition for school age to Masters, AWD and Internation athletes travel there for training and competition all year. Expertise in all aspects of track and field can be found there!!!Posted by: JR 07:47am Friday 19th NovemberComment 4 of 19
Why bother putting in a bid for the comm games if this is the plan? Pan Pacific games just finished several hundred masters athletes from interstate and overseas all spent money in the local area, Thousands of school athletes compete there every year, not to mention the elite track & field athletes.Posted by: Callum 08:20pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 5 of 19
plenty of quality athletic facilities down here in Melbourne, Sally. Be seeing you soon.Posted by: Greener Pastures of Melbourne 08:00pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 6 of 19
typical,politicians,they obviously dont have upcomming olympic athletes as kids,where is our support for our athletes ,who put in thousand of hours,unsponsored,and obviosly unappreciated,the track needs to be central so all on the gold coast ,get to participate, and hopefully represent our glorious country,pity our politicians have no pride,only financial predjudice,SHAME!!!!!Posted by: donna 07:23pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 7 of 19
This is not fair. The council should stick to its 20 years lease. Look for other alternatives rather than ripping the track.Posted by: Hilary 05:40pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 8 of 19
One of the largest and most rapidly expanding cities in Australia and we have one synthetic athletic track to be ripped up, and another too far away for many to use which hasn't been able to be used for a number of years because of the poor state it is in. When is local government going to be reactive and provide what is required by residents???
Posted by: Chris 02:25pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 9 of 19
So the knowledge precinct academics are not planning to use the Rapid Transit Congestion System either because they prefer cars and government wages. The fat cat comments are convenient.Posted by: Rodney of Gold Coast 12:57pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 10 of 19
Have they thought that they could possibly build the carpark at the hospital first and use that????? That track is used by schools also for major athletic carnivals and many hundreds of athletes yearly. My children train there 4 days a week! I would much prefer them training then having them wander around the streets or shopping centres! Wise up people there has to be a better solution! Posted by: Maree of Gold Coast 12:24pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 11 of 19
Sports Credentials & fellow Qld Coaches using that track have changed the lives of many children, teenagers & adults by being based @ that track. Unless there is a new track ready to go within easy reach the QLD government should wake up to themselves and stop being fools. With re to RealJoes post - We cannot get Athletics in the media unless it has such a title even if it is a little exaggerated. Let us do what we need to do to continue reducing Obesity & being known as a great sporting country.Posted by: Dumbledore of Hogwarts 12:11pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 12 of 19
That is just insaine that is the biggest club in athletics and there going to take it away what a joke...... no wonder athletics Australia doesn't get much show!!! They don't care about it and that is just disgusting feel for the Gold Coast Club.Posted by: Rachael M of Gracemere 12:00pm Thursday 18th NovemberComment 13 of 19
ridiculous...and they wonder why Australia has the biggest obesity rate. demolish the track and see what happens...Posted by: cooper 11:13am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 14 of 19
what a joke. Typical university, is BIG BUSINESS, looking at the bottom line, PROFIT. There's more money in car parks, than athletics. Posted by: James of Gold Coast 10:01am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 15 of 19Welcome to Fat Australia, land of no sporting facilities and many, many carparks. Viva la Obesity! The irony that the carpark is for the hospital, which will be treating obesity related disease, is just plain hilarious. (gold!)Posted by: Couchless of AnywhereIcanwalkto... 09:20am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 16 of 19
Talk about melodramatic! "Hopes shattered". She hasn't lost a leg.Posted by: realjoe of gold coast 09:05am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 17 of 19
So much for ronnie's no budget commonwelth games.Posted by: stuart of surfers 06:37am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 18 of 19
The population of the Gold Coast is getting bigger. We are paying more money in rates etc. Facilities are disappearing. Posted by: Andrew of Gold Coast 06:01am Thursday 18th NovemberComment 19 of 19