Committed cash for sport

31 Oct 2018 • Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) by Simon Ruppert

Benalla’s up and coming sporting superstars are one step closer to having state-of the art facilities with the announcement of $500 000 in funding from the Victorian Government.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes and Labor Candidate for Euroa Fionna Deppeler-Morton joined Acting Mayor Peter Davis at the Arundel St Oval on Friday to make the announcement.

Cr Davis said it was fantastic that money was available for the boys and girls of Benalla.

“Anybody in Benalla that’s been here and driven past the oval on a Saturday morning when there’s 350 kids running around with no toilet or changing facilities will know how important this announcement is,” Cr Davis said.

“It’s fantastic that the government have put the money in as council can’t fund this type of thing from rates and charges.”

The planned upgrades include the removal of the old stables, which flank the oval, which will be replaced with a new multi-use sporting complex.

It will include a new pavilion complete with female friendly change rooms, umpires rooms and canteen.

The upgrades will allow for a number of sports clubs to utilise the oval including the Benalla and District Junior Football League, the Benalla Bushrangers Cricket Club, the Benalla Saints Sports Club, and potentially Benalla Bandits Baseball.

The new facilities will ensure that Benalla can be proud to host regional competitions involving Wangaratta and District Junior Football League, Wangaratta and District Cricket Association, and North East Knights Female Cricket, and could attract other competitions and events.

Benalla and District Junior Footy League president Darren Skelton said the funding would allow plans to be finalised meaning construction could start as soon as possible.

“This is not an election commitment, this is committed money,” Mr Skelton said.

“This isn’t just about junior footy, this is about sport in Benalla.

If we build a facility that can cater for junior footy and the needs we have, but also cater for cricket and other sports it’s just going to be a great outcome for Benalla.”

Friday’s announcement was made in front of Benalla sporting club representatives, local school kids, Benalla Rural City Council and community members.

In particular this complex will accommodate the growing numbers of woman and girls taking up AFLW and ensure they have equal access to appropriate facilities that allow them to enjoy the sport they love and enable Benalla to produce more stars, like the recently drafted Becky Webster.

Ms Symes worked closely with the user groups and council during the planning stage, and the Junior Football Club is proposing to make a significant financial and in-kind contribution to the project, which will be transformational to the Arundel ovals precinct, attracting more sporting enthusiasts and ensuring that the growing community has access to the best facilities.

“Congratulations to all these amazing clubs and the Benalla community who have worked for years to get this project off the ground – I’m so proud that the Labor Government is supporting this worthwhile local project that will benefit our town for generations,” Ms Symes said.

Ms Deppeler-Morton said this was another great example of how the State Government was making sport and recreation more accessible in country Victoria.

“We know how important this project is for the Benalla community and I’m proud as the Labor candidate for Euroa that we are delivering this project,” Ms DeppelerMorton said.