The from yesterday's "The Mercury" - Brett Stubbs (Paywall)
"Call to act on DEC or lose investment and national side
SPEND taxpayers' money now on the Derwent Entertainment Centre and get a $200 million investment and an NBL team in return or spend it in five years’ time and get nothing.
That’s the message from Tasmanian NBL advisory board member and former premier David Bartlett as negotiations over the sale of the DEC between NBL owner Larry Kestelman, the Glenorchy City Council and the State Government heat up.
Kestelman has promised an investment in Wilkinsons Point of $200 million that would create a hotel, shopping, restaurant and sporting precinct and 1100 jobs if he lands the sale of the DEC and surrounds for about $18 million and gets Government support for the redevelopment of the centre - believed to be in the range of $20-$30 million.
If all proceeds, Tasmania would reenter the NBL for the 2020-21 season in a brand-spanking new DEC.
The 30-year-old venue is the state’s only 5000-seat arena capable of hosting indoor concerts and sporting events, but urgently needs millions spent on lighting, audio and visual aspects as well to become disability compliant.
Mr Bartlett said if he was Glenorchy mayor, he would simply shut the doors and hand the keys back to the Government if this deal failed.
"Whether or not this happens, Tasmania cannot be without a modern 5000-seat arena," Mr Bartlett said. “It is hard enough to get bands and concerts down here as it is.
“This money is going to be spent on the venue in one way or another, and it is going to be spent by the taxpayer. The opportunity here is by doing it now to also receive more than $200 million of capital investment – the investment of scale of another Mona — into the city of Glenorchy over the next five years.”
He said unlike the AFL and the ALeague pushes, there was an NBL licence on the table with Tasmania’s name on it.
“This is a real opportunity for Tasmania to have another team in a national competition, and I think it is absolutely vital we don’t fumble the ball now.” Mr Bartlett said there was only one aspect missing from making Hobart a great city.
“Great cities of the world have culture, great food and a national sporting team,” he said.
“The only missing ingredient to make Tasmania and greater Hobart great is an all-year-round sporting franchise that plays in a national league – and basketball is ready to fill that void.”