State delivers funds for all-weather oval

COLAC and district footballers will be playing on a new surface at Central Reserve within two years.

A push to upgrade Colac’s premier sporting facility has received a much-needed shot in the arm with the State Government injecting $100,000 for a surface revamp.

Colac’s Central Reserve will have a new playing surface within two years despite funding setbacks for the rest of the facility. The State Government has contributed $100,000, while Colac Otway Shire Council has committed $200,000 and has applied for $325,000 of further funding. Pictured from left are Colac Football Club president Nick Lang, Polwarth MP Terry Mulder, councillor Brian Crook and mayor Stephen Hart.

The council plans to transform the oval’s playing surface to all-weather, sand-based, couch grass with new irrigation and drainage, similar to Colac’s Lake Oval cricket ground.

The surface upgrade will cost $650,000 and is part of $1.25 million of improvements to the reserve, which also include new lights and netball courts.

Council arts, recreation and culture manager Ian Seuren said he expected work to start on the surface in October 2012, at the end of next football season.

The surface upgrade is part of a planned renovation which includes extending the netball courts to meet run-off requirements and installing competition oval and netball court lighting.

Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder announced the State Government funding for the project and said revamping Central Reserve was important to sporting clubs and the Colac community.

“This sporting facility plays an important part in the lives of many local residents and the funding will encourage more people to participate in sport and recreation across the local area,” Mr Mulder said.

Colac Football Netball Club president Nick Lang said a new playing surface at the Tigers’ home ground would be “absolutely wonderful”.

“It’s great to see some money coming through,” Mr Lang said.

“Hopefully we can look forward to extra coming through with the vision of establishing a first-class facility capable of attracting AFL and VFL practice matches and the like,” he said.

“The council has been great and very supportive – particularly Ian Seuren and outgoing mayor Brian Crook.”

The $100,000 State Government cash is the first of a series of grants the council has applied for as part of $1.25 million of improvements to Central Reserve.

The council has committed $200,000 to the project.

It has also applied for $250,000 from the Victorian Country Football League’s country football netball facilities program.

The council will also apply for an additional $75,000 early next year from the country football netball program.

If all applications are successful it will have $625,000 to attract matching funding from the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.

The council hoped to receive $4.9 million to improve the Gravesend Street reserve, which included $2 million for a grandstand redevelopment.

But changes to round two of the RDAF, as reported by the Colac Herald last week, mean applicants must match any funding dollar-for-dollar.

Mayor Stephen Hart said the changes had forced the council to re-think the way it approached the Central Reserve project.

Council finds cash for new stadium

CIVIC leaders have promised extra cash to a more than $5-million upgrade to Colac’s biggest indoor sporting centre.

Colac Otway Shire Council hopes to use $400,000 to attract state and federal government funding for upgrades to Bluewater Fitness Centre and Central Reserve.

The council committed $200,000 to a major upgrade of Bluewater Fitness Centre’s stadium at its December meeting, while also committing $200,000 to a surface upgrade at Central Reserve.

The centre upgrade would include extensions to existing basketball courts, the development of a new show court, spectator seating, new fitness program space, new changing rooms and an extension to the gymnasium.

The council plans to use the $200,000 to attract a further $650,000 from Sport and Recreation Victoria’s community facility funding program – a scheme that only funds projects that councils have contributed to.

The council has also applied for $500,000 from the Department of Planning and Community Development’s putting locals first program.

Mayor Stephen Hart said the Bluewater Fitness Centre upgrade had already received a $3.7-million election commitment from the Federal Government.

The Department of Education has already committed $430,000 for stage three of the Colac Secondary College redevelopment, while the Colac Basketball Association will contribute $100,000.

The completed project will be worth $5.6 million.

“The Bluewater Fitness Centre, as part of the greater Beechy Precinct, is an important hub for sport, fitness, recreation and education,” Cr Hart said.

“By linking $200,000 of the council’s regional growth fund money to this project, we can potentially deliver a $5.6-million project that will deliver enormous benefit to our shire,” he said.

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