The City of Ballarat is further strengthening the ties between sport and the community with the unveiling of two major community sports infrastructure projects.

The $3.1 million Victoria Park community sports pavilion, and the $10.185 million Wendouree West Recreation Reserve were officially unveiled on 10 May, with Victorian Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, and Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison joining City of Ballarat Mayor, Councillors and officers to tour both venues.

The Victoria Park community sport pavilion

The Victoria Park community sports pavilion is a key component of the  $5.8 million Victoria Park Sport and Community Facility project, with the broader project also including a significant upgrade of the area’s soccer pitches, cricket nets and lighting.

The City of Ballarat contributed $5.2 million towards the community facility, with the Victorian Government contributing a further $500,000 through the 2020-21 World Game Fund Soccer, and $100,000 through Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Infrastructure Fund – Cricket.

The new facility includes home and away female-friendly changerooms, operational office space, storage, a community kitchen and canteen, umpires change rooms, publicly accessible toilets, spectator seating, and path networks and landscaping. 

The facility is primarily used by the Lucas Cricket Club and the Victoria Park Football (Soccer) Club, but will also be available more broadly for other events that take place in Victoria Park such as disc golf, cycling events and other festivals and gatherings.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Des Hudson, said providing the best possible sporting facilities was crucial in increasing participation in activities and sport.

“Having something like female-friendly change rooms is absolutely essential, as identified by our Active Women and Girls Strategy,” Mayor Hudson said.

“I am passionate about people, especially our younger citizens, participating in sports and activities and it is facilities like this that encourage that healthy behaviour.

“The community, as well as the local sporting clubs, will see extraordinary benefit from these new facilities.”

Victorian Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, said the new facilities would aid in improved participation numbers.

“With grassroots winter sports back and growing in participation, more than ever clubs like the Victoria Park SC need quality facilities they can depend on,” Ms Spence said.

“These new facilities will go a long way to inspiring more locals to join in the fun at the local football or cricket club.”

Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison, said the project would draw even more people to Victoria Park.

“Our investment in this community infrastructure at Victoria Park will further enhance participation in local sport and bring more people to our beautiful park,” Ms Addison said. 

The Wendouree West Recreation Reserve

The Victorian Government contributed $7 million towards the Wendouree West Recreation Reserve through its Local Sports Grant Program. In addition to this, the Federal Government contributed $1.3 million through the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure fund, and the City of Ballarat contributed $1.885 million.

The Wendouree West Recreation Reserve consists of:

  •  A new sports pavilion with female-friendly change rooms that will meet Football Victoria standards for senior football competition
  • Community Spaces for the Wendouree Neighbourhood Centre,  Ballarat YMCA Youth Programs, and a community kitchen
  • A new Men’s Shed and ReCranked Shed (an initiative to restore old bikes)
  • A street soccer zone

This followed on from previously completed components of the project, which included development of three soccer pitches with new turf surfaces, full drainage and irrigation, LED lighting, a synthetic cricket wicket between two pitches and new coaches’ boxes.

The new skatepark and BMX facilities were also opened in December, 2021.

Mayor Hudson said the facilities would benefit a wide range of sporting and community groups, including the Forest Rangers Soccer Club, North Ballarat Cricket Club, YMCA, Men’s Shed and Wendouree Neighbourhood House.

“High quality sporting facilities are so important to Ballarat, but this project goes that step further and will have an enormously positive impact that will extend even further beyond the sporting field,” Mayor Hudson said.

“It truly will become a neighbourhood centre that will represent a great step forward for the Wendouree West community.”

Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said the project showed brilliant collaboration.

“I’m delighted that the Australian Government has provided $1.3 million to make this vital project a reality,” Ms King said.

“It’s a great example of three levels of Government working together to deliver better outcomes for the Wendouree community.”

Feature image: Victorian Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence and City of Ballarat Mayor, Des Hudson with councillors at Victoria Park Sport and Community Facility. Provided by City of Ballarat.

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