BALLARAT basketball club presidents have thrown their weight behind a campaign for the development of a multi-purpose indoor sports complex in Wendouree.
They are emphasising the importance of a proposed multimillion-dollar facility – an expansion of the Wendouree Sport and Events Centre – for the grassroots of a sport that has its existing facilities stretched to the limit trying to meet club needs.
Drummo Dragons president Jamie Bobrowski said it was important to make the wider community aware of how much demand there was for more court space and ancillary facilities.
He said the need for a new complex went far beyond marquee, representative and other high-profile games.
“We’re talking about regular Ballarat Basketball Association club competitions and activities – keeping young people in the sport and making it easier for families to get into the sport and then stay involved.
“We are struggling to cater for the existing level of participation, let alone any growth.”
Bobrowski is joined by fellow club presidents Jeff Horgan (Wildcats), Paul Aikman (Saints), Candice Scott (Celtic Tigers) and Di Nevett (Exies-Acmy) in getting the message beyond the basketball community.
As well as the issue with fitting in game schedules, they consider the lack of training facilities, even with the use of schools and other courts beyond the Minerdome, as a major issue.
“There’s no flexibility, which can be particularly difficult for young families,” Bobrowski said.
He said players were forced to train at all hours.
Bobrowski said this not only touched on getting youngsters to training, it was making it hard to get parents to help with training.
“Club are also losing 15 to 16-year-olds as a result of training times being pushed later and later into the evening.
“Then there are game times across the board, with early starts on Saturdays for juniors and late finishes for seniors.”
The Ballarat Indoor Sports Group, representing basketball, netball and badminton, is heading up the campaign for the expansion of the Wendouree Sport and Events Centre to enable these sports and others to meet the needs no longer able to be fully catered for by the Minerdome and other support facilities in the city.
There are 15 venues in Ballarat providing 26 courts, with all but seven of these courts in schools.
The Ballarat Indoor Sports Group proposal is for the development of six new courts with scope for another three courts in a future phase.