Major sporting upgrades
Ararat is set to benefit from a major State Government commitment to help the rural city promote its community ‘get active, stay healthy’ promotional push.
The government has announced $750,000 for major recreation projects in the city.
Sports Minister John Eren visited Ararat to announce $250,000 for the second stage of Ararat Active Link at Bill Waterston Skate Park and $500,000 to develop two new netball courts, female clubrooms and an indoor female recreation hub at Alexandra Oval.
Money for the skate park will come from the government’s Community Sports Infrastructure fund and the other projects will benefit from a Female Friendly Facilities Fund.
Active Link, a new outdoor recreation hub near Alexandra Gardens, will include a multipurpose sports court, a 300-metre multi-use path, including a builtin cycling loop, and a three-metre bouldering wall designed in consultation with Sport Climbing Victoria.
It will provide a base for people to test their skills in a range of recreational activities and act as an incentive for Ararat families and visitors to become more active.
The Bill Waterston Skate Park, providing the backbone to Ararat Active Link, is quickly building a reputation as one of the premier skatepark venues in west- ern Victoria. At Alexandra Oval, more than 150 female members of Ararat and Ararat Eagles football-netball clubs and other users are set to benefit from the new netball courts.
The project involves shifting the courts from the northern fringe of the reserve to a central hub behind a community pavilion.
The Alexandra Oval project will also include lighting and new clubrooms, complete with an indoor recreation space including a gymnasium.
Ararat A Grade netball coach Donna Spalding said she was delighted with the news, which she previously had believed ‘would never come’.
“I’ve been at the club for 40 years and I didn’t think it would happen in my time. I have always called netball the poor relations in weekend sport – for a lot of reasons – but to have something as valuable as this happen is really quite rewarding,” she said.
“Importantly, the development will bring us closer to people and football at the reserve and reinvigorate our sense of belonging.”
Netball courts teams have played on for about the past five years, apart from being a considerable distance from change rooms, canteens and a community pavilion, are also deteriorating.
“The development is going to provide not only better facilities for us, but also our guests and help generate a much better sporting atmosphere. This will be great for building confidence in females who will have a lot more pride in where they play,” Mrs Spalding said.
Mr Eren said parks and sports venues were the heart of communities, especially in regional centres such as Ararat.
“We’re ensuring our commu- nities stay healthy by giving regional Victorians the facilities they need to enjoy the sports and activities that they love,” he said.
Mr Eren also thanked project partner Ararat Rural City Council for its financial contribution of $596,222 for both projects.
PROJECT CONTINUES: From left, Taj Studd, Jake Taylor and Ethan Edwards at the new Ararat Bill Waterston Skate Park.Picture: PAUL CARRACHER