Launceston Tornadoes happy to be the leaders behind a push for a new community sports facility

Launceston Tornadoes are backing a proposal that will see the SEABL club leave its Elphin Sports Centre home for a new venue.

But club chair Janie Finlay has warned that only strong “community engagement” will ensure to attract funding for the ambitious proposal.

Launceston Tornadoes chair Janie Finlay, top left, with club board members Jordie Gray and Shannon Anis, and Finlay's son, Zac.

Launceston Tornadoes chair Janie Finlay, top left, with club board members Jordie Gray and Shannon Anis, and Finlay's son, Zac.

“The Tornadoes are super keen for improved facilities for the North,” Finlay said.

“It’s just not our need – we are not the only ones that are keen either.

“There is a massive push from Basketball Tasmania, in terms of a statewide approach to basketball.

“But also just in terms of community facilities in the North, there is also a big push being led by netball as well.”

A preferred model would supply the Tornadoes players with adequate training and playing facilities, but cater also for multiple community indoor sports and users.

Finlay, an ex-City mayor and current alderman, has spoken to council’s general manager Robert Dobrzynski over a possible new venue. 

She said council has also been in conversation with the University of Tasmania and other partners to facilitate a possible move to its future Inveresk campus and “whether it makes sense”.

“We would just love to have a facility that we can call the home of the Tornadoes,” Finlay said.

“We would also love the community to be so proud of our local team on a national scale that we can do that.

“But we can’t do that without the support of others using that facility as well.

“So we are really happy to take charge and be leaders in whatever the outcome is, but it needs to be a combined outcome so everyone gets what they need.”

Finlay added any shift would be part of the club’s full transformation after coming back from “a dark place”.

The Launceston community rallied at the end of the 2011 to wipe off a $55,000 club debt that also included owing $33,000 to the SEABL. 

“It’s got to happen – for the Tornadoes not to have a home and not to have a place that we can train and play isn’t on,” Finlay said.

“That’s no reflection on Elphin – what they’ve had and what they’ve got, we have been happy to be a part of it.

“But we reckon the North of the state deserves better.”

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