Din­ner Plain may add AFL oval

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE - By JUSTIN JENVEY

DIN­NER Plain is look­ing at the pos­si­ble de­vel­op­ment of an AFL oval in the alpine vil­lage, in or­der to in­crease its all-year­round ap­peal as a sports train­ing cen­tre, and meet a num­ber of com­mu­nity needs.

The Din­ner Plain Cham­ber of Com­merce and Alpine Shire Coun­cil are cur­rently as­sess­ing the find­ings of a fea­si­bil­ity study for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment.

Cham­ber pres­i­dent Doug McDougall said the es­tab­lish­ment of the AFL oval would be a solu- tion for a num­ber of the vil­lage’s needs, and would func­tion as a multi-pur­pose fa­cil­ity.

“We looked at a whole range of things and the so­lu­tion we came up with was for an oval,” he said.

“We needed an area dur­ing bush­fires that could be a neigh­bour­hood safe area as well as a spot where we could run func­tions and events, things like mu­sic fes­ti­vals or a venue for car groups to come.

“It could also be used to hold the an­nual polo com­pe­ti­tion at Easter which is presently run at Cobun­gra Sta­tion and just a gen­eral recre­ation space for the com­mu­nity in­clud­ing an off-lead dog area.”

On top of be­ing an emer­gency ser­vices op­er­at­ing base and com­mu­nity events fa­cil­ity, Mr McDougall said an oval could be­come a po­ten­tial venue for high al­ti­tude train­ing for sport­ing teams and pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur ath­letes.

“We did some re­search and found that a lot of AFL teams travel over­seas to do high al­ti­tude train­ing for up to two weeks,” he said.

“There is nowhere in Aus­tralia above 1500 me­tres that has enough cleared area for an AFL sized oval that can be used for football as well as other sports.

“Din­ner Plain fit­ted the cri­te­ria in terms of ac­cess with the air­port just down the road, there is an abun­dance of ac­com­mo­da­tion and with ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties like the day spa, gym­na­sium and treat­ment rooms the po­ten­tial is here.

“We spoke to a va­ri­ety of AFL teams and have a let­ter from the Gee­long chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer ex­press­ing in­ter­est that they would po­ten­tially train up here.”

Mr McDougall said con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal busi­ness own­ers and op­er­a­tors had been pos­i­tive with most con­sid­er­ing it a great idea and be­ing ex­cited at the prospects.

Alpine Shire Coun­cil di­rec­tor of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, Heather Green, said coun­cil would sup­port the cham­ber in its pur­suits if they proved vi­able.

“I think the gen­eral thing is that the cham­ber of com­merce is think­ing big and look­ing at al­ter­na­tives to snow and all op­por­tu­ni­ties for non-snow re- lated ac­tiv­i­ties and we are cer­tainly look­ing at do­ing the same thing,” she said.

“One of the things coun­cil wants to pur­sue is a fa­cil­ity for elite am­a­teur sports peo­ple like peo­ple who do the Tour of Bright and Au­dax.

“We think there is a real op­por­tu­nity for pack­ag­ing Din­ner Plain’s ac­com­mo­da­tion and fa­cil­i­ties for fit­ness re­lated things but a vil­lage green will ob­vi­ously also be an op­por­tu­nity to bring other things to the town and lead to fur­ther eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.”

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