LAST Thursday City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Des Hudson joined Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and Ballarat Basketball Association CEO Peter Eddy in welcoming the Victorian Government’s appointment of an architect for the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre redevelopment. Renowned indoor sports stadium designer Mantric Architecture has developed projects including the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne. The design phase is underway and will continue until the end of 2016. Construction is expected to begin in 2017. The entire $24 million redevelopment will deliver a premier basketball and netball facility with six new courts, a show court with doubled capacity of 3000 seats, a high performance training base, new amenities, improved accessibility and public areas.
$14 million has been secured to date and will fund Stage 1 of the project. Through its design process, Mantric Architecture will identify the components to be developed in Stage 1. A minimum of three courts and a show court are expected to be delivered in this stage.
The Victorian Government has contributed $9 million towards the redevelopment and the City of Ballarat $5 million. The Ballarat Basketball Association has delivered $500,000 in in-kind support. An application for Round Three of the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund has also been lodged. Facility users include the Ballarat Basketball Association, Wendouree Netball Association, other indoor sporting groups, and non-sporting community groups.
On an elite level, the redevelopment will help attract major events and tournaments to Ballarat. On an amateur level, it will allow more Ballarat people to get involved in indoor sport and will ensure the city’s sporting community remains competitive with other cities and regions. The facility will also be better equipped for use by non-sporting community groups and educational programs.
The Ballarat Sports and Events Centre forms part of the $31.5 million Victorian Government funded Ballarat Major Events Precinct, which also includes Eureka Stadium, C.E Brown Reserve and the Ballarat Showgrounds. The Ballarat Major Events Precinct will be a vibrant events and sporting hub capable of hosting premier cultural, entertainment, recreation and sporting events.
The City of Ballarat finalised the Ballarat Major Events Precinct Master Plan to enable works to commence. Netball Victoria Regional Development Manager Mel Taylor said it was ‘brilliant’ to have the facility finally confirmed.
“It’s been a lot of work on a Ballarat Sports and Events Centre development, for netball it will provide more opportunities for more people to play, increase our participation levels,” she said. “They will be fantastic facilities. The current ones are okay but the number of courts available is at the lower end.
“If we can provide more courts for more members to join in and to start playing netball, it’s a great initiative.” At the moment games are being played late into the evening, due to lack of court space, and the new development will not only enable better court times but enable Netball Victoria to look at other events and tournaments for the region.
“At the minute Ballarat Netball Association is our biggest regional venue, within Central Highlands, with six courts – four indoor and two outdoor – and for championships and state titles it’s just not enough, so a bigger venue, indoors, will provide more capacity,” Ms Taylor said.