Sport and recreation funding brings miles of smiles to city

01 Oct 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Shane Douthie IT was all smiles on Thursday when Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced more than $1.1 million in funding for three major sporting infrastructure projects in Wangaratta. Ms Symes, announced $596,327 in funding towards the Mitchell Avenue Recreation Reserve, WJ Findlay Oval, and South Wangaratta Reserve, which will be delivered and partly funded by the Rural City of Wangaratta council. Mayor Ken Clarke welcoming the announcement at the South Wangaratta Reserve said he was always happy to see Ms Symes visit Wangaratta. Youre always bringing good news, Cr Clarke said. Six years ago the State Government seemed to look at our grant applications and put a line through them. Under the administrators we received virtually no grants but I did a quick calculation and since the councillors have returned I estimate weve received about $8.4 million. Ms Symes secured the funding through the Andrews Labor Governments Community Sports and Infrastructure Fund and the World Game Facilities Fund. Mitchell Avenue Reserve Recreation Precinct Stage 1 project will see the construction of a childrens garden, parkour equipment, and a skate friendly pathway linking the existing splash park and playground as well as the future BMX pump track. WJ Findlay Oval will see the installation of sports field lighting to 200 lux including an upgrade of power supply, boosting training opportunities for the Wangaratta Rovers Football Netball Club and other user groups. Wangaratta City Football Club will finally be able to ditch hiring portable lighting with the installation of 100 lux LED lighting at its home grown South Wangaratta Reserve. These are three exciting projects that the community and sporting clubs should be very proud of, Ms Symes said. Recreational infrastructure projects are vital for the Wangaratta community, expanding social and recreational opportunities both day and night. Its another great example of the Labor Government working together with council and our local sporting clubs, making sport and recreation more accessible, welcoming and inclusive. We have seen an explosion in football/soccer participation and I am very pleased that together we are delivering for the Wangaratta City Football Club who will be able to ditch hiring lights so teams can train at night. Sports clubs are the lifeblood of our communities and they deserve modern, accessible and safe facilities the Labor Government is delivering those facilities through its Community Sports Infrastructure Fund and World Game Facilities Fund. Its part of Labors commitment to promoting sports and active recreation and encouraging all Victorians to get out there and get active. Wangaratta City Soccer Club president Wally Pasquali said the lights would make a major impact to the training facilities and provide opportunities across the board, from the mini-roos junior development to the senior mens and womens soccer teams. Were just a stepping stone for all those kids who want to be involved at the elite level; we want to see the next Sebastian Pasquali come out of the Wangaratta City Soccer Club. He also praised former president Dean Campagna and the committee for their tireless efforts improving the club and applying for grants. Dean and the committee have built this club to what it is today and they were integral in securing this funding. The new lights will also save the club thousands of dollars a year to hire portable lights. Andrew Smith, Wangaratta Rovers Football and Netball Club president said the lights would make a dramatic improvement to the entire Barr Reserve sporting precinct. Its not just for Rovers, there are multiple user groups who will benefit including junior football clubs and the womens AFL team, Mr Smith said. Peoples expectations of what sports lighting should be have grown and this has been on our wish-list for some time. Councils projects and recreation coordinator Brad McGill said the Mitchell Avenue stage one development reflected the communitys wishes following the release of the masterplan. This was one of the higher priorities for the community and the funding will let us roll out stage one next financial year, he said.