The East Gippsland sporting community scored a goal today, with the announcement of $5.3 million in funding for the planned WORLD Sporting Precinct upgrade in Bairnsdale.
Mayor Cr John White was on the netball courts at the WORLD for the announcement by Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester of the funding support for the project from the Building Better Regions Fund.
“This is a significant day for this project, led by East Gippsland Shire Council, and the future of community sport in Bairnsdale and East Gippsland,” Cr White said.
“I sincerely thank the Federal Government and Darren for seeing the merit in this project and welcome the funding on behalf of our sporting community.
“When fully constructed, the WORLD will provide a great home for over 750 netballers, 630 soccer players and 50 hockey players, most of whom are juniors, allowing these sports to grow.
“The site will also provide an opportunity for students from throughout the district to utilise these much-improved facilities for carnivals and inter-school sports events. It will build on the great history the precinct has had since opening in 1984 and will continue to be one of the most highly used recreational facilities in East Gippsland.
This $10.7 million project will include:
- An upgraded pavilion for hockey and netball user groups
- New lighting and amenities for the main hockey pitch
- An eight-court regional level netball facility. Four courts will be marked for both futsal and netball
- A soccer precinct that includes a dedicated pavilion and two pitches with lighting
- Associated car parking
- New walkways and connections to the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre and Bairnsdale Secondary College
The Mayor said Council is seeking matching funding from the Victorian Government to progress the important project, as identified by the community.
“In 2018 Council completed the Bairnsdale Sporting Facilities Plan. This large project looked at the current sporting facilities in Bairnsdale, and their user groups, to determine what facilities will be needed in the future for current and emerging sporting groups,” Cr White said.
“Through this work, the WORLD Sporting Precinct was identified as a key hub to meet the growing needs of active sport and recreation for all East Gippslanders. The specific sporting infrastructure needed at this precinct; however, was either non-existent or of a very poor standard.
“The Bairnsdale Sporting Facilities Plan involved a lot of consultation with many user groups and committees. In fact, it even received a state (Victoria and Tasmania) Parks and Leisure Regional Award and was a finalist for a national award.
“The support of the community to work with council on that strategic plan has been integral to the success of our funding application. It is fantastic to see all that collaborative work start paying off.
“It will be a great day when the project is complete, and the Bairnsdale Netball Association and Bairnsdale Hockey Club are joined by East Gippsland United Football Club (soccer) and Bairnsdale Soccer Club (futsal) at the precinct.”