EUREKA Stadium would get a new 6000-seat covered grandstand under an election commitment to be announced by the Labor Party today.
The $15 million redevelopment would also include new AFL standard lights and a video scoreboard, laying the foundation for the ground to one day host AFL games.
A total of $29 million would be committed to the Ballarat sports and entertainment precinct by Labor, including $9 million for indoor basketball and netball courts at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre and $5 million to upgrade the Ballarat Showgrounds.
A separate commitment of $2.5 million would also be set aside for a stage one upgrade of the adjacent CE Brown Reserve, which houses the Lake Wendouree Football Netball Club.
Labor leader Daniel Andrew said the redevelopment would help make AFL games possible in Ballarat and cater for international acts and tournaments.
“Victoria is the sporting capital of the world. It’s part of our culture and our identity. Ballarat deserves to be a part of it, too,” Mr Andrews said.
The upgrade is not quite what Labor committed to in 2010, when it went to an election promising a 15,000 seat stadium.
However, while the 6000-seat option won’t be big enough to host AFL games, it is considered by the City of Ballarat to be a more pragmatic approach to redeveloping the site.
Victoria is the sporting capital of the world. It’s part of our culture and our identity. Ballarat deserves to be a part of it
The commitment almost matches what council called for in its recent Ballarat Regional Capital Plan, aside from an $8 million integrated sports house and administrative facility.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said local sport fans wanted to see their heroes playing in Ballarat.
“It’s great for jobs, tourism and the local economy – and it’s great for Ballarat,” she said.
Ms Knight said Labor would upgrade community athletics, netball, football and cricket facilities at CE Brown Reserve.
Labor said it would seek to ensure local companies would have priority to work on the Eureka precinct redevelopment.