MOORABOOL Shire needs at least 19 sports grounds to keep up with population growth.
There is no dedicated ground for soccer, the fastest growing sport in the country, in Bacchus Marsh, which is one of the fastest growing towns in Victoria.
Bacchus Marsh Scorpions Soccer Club president Noel Stanley said his club used a cricket ground, which it did not even have precedence
on during the season.
“We need three grounds immediately, and four would be good. There’s a concrete pitch in the middle (of our current ground), which obviously causes problems,” he said. “We had to move our games to Ballarat the other week because the dog club was using the ground all day.”
Moorabool Shire mayor Paul Tatchell said the growth of the town coupled with no sports development had left all kinds of clubs in trouble.
“In the 1950s, when we had a population of around 3000 in Bacchus Marsh, we had four footy grounds. Now, with a population of 18,000, we’ve (still) got four footy grounds,” he said.
“We’ve got kids playing sport in Ballarat because they can’t find a spot locally.”
The council has appealed to candidates for the seat of Melton, which covers Bacchus Marsh, to fund five new football ovals, four soccer grounds, three netball courts, two cricket ovals and two indoor courts.
It has also appealed to the candidates for Buninyong for a new football oval and netball court for Ballan.
The only registered candidate for Melton is Labor member Don Nardella, who said he had committed to get the shadow sports minister to Bacchus Marsh for a visit.
“I had a talk to them about it, and we’ll definitely get John Eren up here to have a look,” he said.
Any commitment on new grounds would come “closer to the election”.
Cr Tatchell said getting young people involved in sport was vital because it gave them something community-based to do.
“It’s important for a number of reasons,” he said.
“Kids need to interact with other kids to build a sense of teamwork, and it gives them a place in the community.
“It also means they’re not inside in front of the computer.”