Netball carnival cancelled after 'devastating' fire
UPDATE 8.50am: BALLINA netball players have been advised the Sunday carnival has been postponed after a devastating fire gutted the clubhouse.
"We have decided to postpone the carnival as we need a little time to get our heads around what has happened, what that means for us and what we need to do moving forward," announced on Facebook.
"We hope that the carnival will provide us with an opportunity to all come together and celebrate all that is Ballina Netball. We will advise of the date as soon as possible."
Saturday netball will go ahead as normal, weather permitting.
"Ballina Council have arranged toilets and Lismore Netball Association are lending us some post pads.
"As there is no longer a clubhouse or canteen. Remember to bring a drink bottle. NET will still have their little celebration after their last session."
ORIGINAL: BALLINA netball players have been left devastated after a blaze gutted their clubhouse on Tuesday night, causing roughly $50,000 worth of damage.
Richmond Police District detectives are calling for any information about two suspicious fires at Ballina, with investigators assessing whether the two fires were connected.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews were called to a vehicle fire on Owen St, Ballina about 10.45pm on Tuesday and quickly extinguished the blaze.
A short time later, crews were called to the Ballina Netball Association clubhouse about 100m away at Missingham Park following reports of a building fire, and extinguished the flames.
It's understood the netball clubhouse has sustained damage estimated at $50,000.
Police believe these incidents may be linked and are treating them as suspicious.
Meanwhile, Ballina Netball Association coaching coordinator Selina Atkinson said despite the loss of the clubhouse, the netball community was determined to not let it dampen their spirits.
"I'm devastated for the fact it was a community building that is well used and it serves a purpose for so many people," Ms Atkinson said.
"It's netball season, we have a carnival coming up and we're just getting to the end of our actual season. We're also heading into finals.
"Now we're unable to provide all the facilities that we like, especially for a girls sport not to have toilet facilities and general things like the canteen and what's damaged in terms of our actual infrastructure and paperwork."
Ms Atkinson said the fire destroyed a lot of property within the clubhouse, including post pads, uniforms, buzzers and necessary paperwork.
But thanks to the support of surrounding netball associations, it looks like everything will go ahead as planned for this weekend's carnival.
"We've had some fantastic support from other netball associations, and we've had offers for post pads," Ms Atkinson said.
"The majority of our post pads were in the toilet section and they're made of plastic, so they're gone. We've had Lismore and other clubs offer post pads for us, which is fantastic.
"We've got a 'won't be stopped' kind of attitude."
Ms Atkinson said Netball NSW had also offered to help get the club back on its feet by sourcing necessary equipment.
"Every day of the week there would be four or five teams down here being coached so therefore again someone comes and unlocks the toilets," she said.
"All those facilities aren't going to be apparent.
"If it is an arson type arrangement, they're being targeted for those types of things which affects more people than they realise at the end of the day."
Anyone with information about these incidents should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.