Sharks Chairman Damian Keogh was amongst a handful of keynote speakers at today’s Woolooware Bay ‘ground breaking’ ceremony to mark the official start of the construction phase of the town centre and community residential development.
Keogh thanked those responsible for setting the wheels in motion for the Woolooware Bay project, enabling it to progress to where it is today, while predicting a bright future for the Sharks as a result of the benefits the development will deliver both the club and the local community.
Following is Keogh’s speech from today reproduced in full.
“The Mayor of Sutherland Shire Council, Councillor Kent Johns, Councillors Carrol Provan and Tom Croucher, Melanie Gibbons, Member for Menai, Uncle Vic Sims and the Indigenous Community Elders, Sharks Board members and Former Board Members, Life Members of the Club, Club Sponsors, Members and staff, Distinguished Guests from the Sutherland Shire community, Council officers, Steve Grant, Ben Fairfax and Directors of the Bluestone Board, and Bluestone and Woolooware Bay Development team.
Good morning and welcome to today’s ceremony.
Today has been a long time coming and represents a significant step forward in the future of our club. Since coming into the competition in 1967 the Sharks have endured our fair share of ups and downs.
In particular the last two seasons have been extremely challenging for everyone involved in the club at every level.
Today is not just a turning of the soil for this development but it symbolically represents a turning point in the clubs future.
With ASADA now behind us, with our coach back with the team and a strong playing group heading into next season there is renewed optimism in the club. Shortly we also hope to announce a new Group CEO to provide the executive leadership required to further rebuild this great club.
In stating the obvious we are a parochial tribe in the Sutherland Shire and our rugby league team is part of the DNA of this area. The returns to the club from the Woolooware Bay development will help to ensure the long term financial viability of the club.
To be honest, without this development the only way the Sharks would have been able to survive in the competition would have been a privatization model.
Today, it is an honour in my capacity as the current Chairman of the Board to represent both the current Board and in particular our predecessors who have over many years passed, worked tirelessly to see this project come to fruition. I would like to express my personal thanks to Craig Douglas, Damian Irvine and Keith Ward – former Sharks Board members who were instrumental in partnering with Bluestone on this project.
They chose our partner well. I would like to acknowledge Steve Grant and Ben Fairfax from Bluestone, and their whole team, for the great leadership and strategic work they have done on this project
This will be a first class development the Shire can be very proud of. The successful pre sales of units are a testament to the wonderful design that maximizes the physical beauty of this land.
I am delighted that construction is finally about to start with a completion date likely to coincide around the 50th anniversary of our club.
Just as there is a lot of building work required on this site, we continue to face our own task of rebuilding the Sharks. I am confident we are on the right track on both challenges.
Thanks again for attending. Up up Cronulla!”