Big win for Stawell com­mu­nity

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Lead­ers be­hind up­grades at Stawell’s North Park are cel­e­brat­ing a sec­ond ma­jor fund­ing in­jec­tion to re­de­velop out­dated fa­cil­i­ties in as many years.

The State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced $600,000 to up­grade the pri­mary build­ing at North Park, on top of a $100,000 grant last year to cre­ate two uni­sex change rooms and fa­cil­i­ties for umpires and of­fi­cials.

Swifts Foot­ball Net­ball Club vice-pres­i­dent Ian O’don­nell said club and com­mu­nity lead­ers were thrilled to learn of the gov­ern­ment’s lat­est con­tri­bu­tion, part of $60-mil­lion in the 2018-19 State Bud­get ear­marked for com­mu­nity sport­ing grants.

“A bit of lob­by­ing went on and we had to knock on a lot of doors, but it’s worth it, not only for the clubs in­volved but the whole com­mu­nity,” he said.

Mr O’don­nell said rep­re­sen­ta­tives of North Park user groups were work­ing with North­ern Grampians Shire Coun­cil staff to de­liver the project. “We’re in the process of dis­cussing with the coun­cil whether we are go­ing to use the money to up­grade or re­build the fa­cil­i­ties,” he said.

“It’s look­ing like we’re go­ing to do a re­build be­cause Sport and Recre­ation Vic­to­ria came and had a look and our build­ing doesn’t meet their stan­dards.

“Up­dat­ing it is go­ing to cost too much so it looks like we’ll be bet­ter off knock­ing it down and build­ing an­other one.”

Mr O’don­nell said the re­build would in­cor­po­rate sev­eral el­e­ments.

“It will in­volve new up-to-date change rooms that meet AFL stan­dards, with proper toi­lets and show­ers, as well as a new can­teen,” he said.

“Our cur­rent can­teen doesn’t meet stan­dards ei­ther.

“We’re also look­ing to cre­ate a func­tion room, which is some­thing we don’t have at the mo­ment.

“We want some­thing that will be able to sit 150 peo­ple and that can be used by the whole com­mu­nity.”

Com­mu­nity to ben­e­fit

Mr O’don­nell stressed the project would ben­e­fit a wide range of sport­ing groups, as well as the wider com­mu­nity.

“It’s not just the foot­ball-net­ball club in­volved, but also the ath­let­ics club, Lit­tle Ath­let­ics, in­ter­church net­ball, cricket and the fire brigade,” he said.

“We’re all part of a recre­ation re­serve com­mit­tee and we need to sit down to­gether and work out what we’re go­ing to do.

“We’ve still got a bit to work out, such as whether we’re go­ing to build it in the same spot or whether we’re go­ing to build it some­where else.”

Mr O’don­nell said project lead­ers would look to com­plete the up­grade in the foot­ball-net­ball off­sea­son, but were look­ing into con­tin­gency plans should the project not be com­pleted on time.

He said the foot­ball-net­ball club could po­ten­tially play more away games or at an al­ter­na­tive venue if the project en­croached on the sea­son.

“We’ve been think­ing about it for a while and will make sure we cover all our bases,” he said.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited to get this fund­ing. The footy club has a bit of money so we’ll be putting in a con­tri­bu­tion. I’d say the coun­cil prob­a­bly will as well. We’re look­ing at more than $1-mil­lion for the re­build.”

In­spi­ra­tion

Mr O’don­nell said he had looked to other re­cent com­mu­nity build­ing projects at Hor­sham’s Cough­lin Park and Ararat’s Alexan­dra Oval for in­spi­ra­tion.

“We’re look­ing at a few other places as well. We’d love to have a set-up like Quan­tong, Ru­pa­nyup or Kal­kee,” he said.

“We’re do­ing a lot of re­search be­cause we want to get it right. “It’s an ex­cit­ing time for the club.” Mem­ber for Western Vic­to­ria Jaala Pul­ford said the up­grade would give the Stawell com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing foot­ball, net­ball and cricket clubs, the fa­cil­i­ties they needed to train, com­pete and at­tract more mem­bers.

“This vi­tal fund­ing will help Stawell’s mighty sport teams com­pete and grow,” she said.

“It’s a win for lo­cal foot­ball, net­ball and cricket and for our com­mu­nity.

“Clubs like Swifts Foot­ball Net­ball Club are the cor­ner­stone of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and that’s why we’re back­ing them with this record in­vest­ment.”

North­ern Grampians mayor Tony Driscoll said the fund­ing would help ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing num­ber of par­tic­i­pants at North Park.

“We’re cer­tainly ap­pre­cia­tive of the gov­ern­ment’s as­sis­tance to fund much-needed fa­cil­i­ties at North Park and I’m con­fi­dent our com­mu­nity will put them to good use,” he said.

Fel­low Hor­sham District Foot­ball Net­ball League club Har­row-bal­moral has also ben­e­fit­ted from a State Bud­get com­mit­ment, with Har­row Recre­ation Re­serve re­ceiv­ing $1-mil­lion to up­grade fa­cil­i­ties.

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