Life-changing sports and community hub opens

Families in Adelaide’s south will have access to new state-of-the-art sporting and community facilities, with a $3.5 million sports and community hub opening at Christie Downs.

The complex on the corner of Morton and Flaxmill Road includes multi-use courts, a skate park, play space and public facilities, creating a place where residents and visitors can gather and play for generations to come.

It will also serve as the new home for the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation’s free coaching and mentoring programs for disadvantaged youth, which will help to shape the lives of hundreds of children a year.

Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said thousands of people will benefit from the new facilities each year.

“This hub will become a focal point for the community and provide sporting opportunities like never before,” Minister Chapman said.

“It will connect young people and encourage them to build healthy, positive relationships centred on sport, fun and fitness.

“I thank the City of Onkaparinga for matching our $1.5 million funding commitment, and the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation and Federal Government for working with the Marshall Liberal Government on this important project,” she said.

Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan CSC said the new sports and community hub was a win for families in the southern suburbs.

“This hub will provide fantastic new facilities for families and encourage youth participation in sport,” Senator McLachlan said.

“These facilities will be used for generations to come and will be a community meeting place for people from across Onkaparinga.

“The Federal Government provided $400,000 for this project through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program which has committed $2.5 billion to local councils across the country to deliver priority infrastructure projects,” he said.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson said it was a momentous day for the local community.

“The Morton Road Sports and Community Hub is a place that not only allows young people and families to have a hit, kick, skate or simply gather with friends and family, it’s a place that will change people’s lives through sport and keeping active,” Mayor Thompson said.

“Local residents and the team at Christie Downs Community House have been instrumental in getting the vision for the hub off the ground, and for shaping its creation throughout the community engagement process. I’d like to thank them for their ongoing energy, passion and commitment in working with us to make this project a reality.

“I’d also like to thank the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation and the state and federal governments for partnering with us to deliver this idyllic space.”

RRSF founder, former professional tennis player and coach to some of the world’s best, Roger Rasheed, said the Morton Road project has been the largest by scale undertaken by the foundation to date.

“Sport and all that holistically comes with participation can be a really positive driver for children and even lifesaving,” Rasheed said.

“It changes their vision of what life is all about, making projects like this all the very more critical and important.

“Eight-five per cent per cent of children in extreme disadvantaged communities don’t play sport ever. It’s almost un Australian.

“Poverty doesn’t discriminate; it cuts across all generations and is invariably ongoing. It means the children of such extreme disadvantaged communities don’t have the same opportunities as their peers.

“The Foundation is proud of the fact it helps children live healthier and happier lives through access to sports facilities like Morton Road, and gives them a fighting chance through the medicine of sport and the broader benefits of our programs.

“The success of the partnership between federal, state and local government to deliver what we have all contributed to and created here is outstanding, but more importantly will make an actual difference and change lives.”

Background Information:

The hub includes four multi-use tennis and netball courts; a sprawling skate park designed by world-leading skate park designers and builders, CONVIC; basketball half-court; playspace; irrigated oval; public art; shelters; barbecue area; footpaths; lighting; and toilets.

The $3.5 million for the project includes $1.5 million from both the City of Onkaparinga and state government and $100,000 from the RRSF.

The Australian Government contributed $400,000 as part of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. This program supports local councils to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia, supporting jobs and the resilience of local economies to help communities bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A true community-driven initiative, the project has also been supported by generous support and donations from local contractors, businesses and suppliers.

A formal dual name for the reserve—Niipu-niipu Wama/Morton Park—has been chosen following community engagement by the City of Onkaparinga and public voting on naming options. Niipu-niipu Wama means ‘friendship park’ in the Kaurna language.