Boost for Ballarat's Olympic rings precinct

BALLARAT’S Olympic rings precinct is being taken to the next level.

A total of $90,000 in funding was announced by the state government and City of Ballarat yesterday for a project that will beautify the iconic Lake Wendouree site.

Ballarat basketballer Ray Borner, who competed in four Olympic Games, welcomed the upgrade, which is expected to be completed in September and in time for the 2014 World Masters Rowing Regatta on the lake.

“Previously it hasn’t been used to its full potential. We have (Olympian’s) handprints, footprints and Bob Bath’s boxing hands so that’s given it an interaction, but with that interaction it still hasn’t been segregated,” Borner said.

“When there is events here, they use it as a toilet place and use it as a place to put rubbish.

“We want to take that away – this is an Olympic site and it needs to be treated as something that should be honoured.”

The state government has contributed $60,000 to the project, which Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay said would be put to good use.

“The improvements, which include soft and hard landscaping, irrigation to the landscaped areas, and a new drinking fountain, flagpole and bluestone border, will highlight the area and improve the major entrance to the lake and garden precinct,” Ramsay said.

“The Olympic area is a very important, well-known and well-visited site and we are very keen to help council in revitalising it, particularly in lieu of many major events coming to Lake Wendouree.”

Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said the works, of which the council will fund $30,000, had been on its radar for some time.