A DECADE ago, the Minerdome impressed as a host venue for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
This week marked the Games’ 10th anniversary with a string of celebratory functions across Melbourne.
While the Games spark proud, fond memories for Basketball Ballarat, the new reality is blunt.
Minerdome facilities no longer meet international standards to such elite matches. Sport evolution has created greater demands and Basketball Ballarat remains lobbying hard to catch up. It needs funding.
Basketball Ballarat secured pre-season games and camps for national league men’s and women’s teams and an Australian Opals exhibition game at the Minerdome last year. But Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer Peter Eddy said that despite clubs’ interest to stage regular season games in Ballarat, a chance to expand their brand, team facilities were inadequate.
The new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre in Norman Street will offer Ballarat’s marquee basketball and netball teams an elite training base. Without full funding, the project cannot transform into a boutique stadium that would put this city back in the running for major sporting and conference events.
Mr Eddy said the Minerdome was forced to undertake renovations and upgrades, strengthen security and relocate operations to prepare as a Games host venue – an incredibly exciting and stressful time.
“It was a steep new learning curve. Having another organization take over the venue and operational control was another first for an association being used to controlling its own destiny,” Mr Eddy said. “Despite many anxious moments and fears that we would not be ready, it all came together as a small part of a massive event.
“My fondest memory is of standing out the front of the Minerdome on opening night and seeing the pride in the faces of our members who had secured tickets. They were absolutely astonished how the building and surrounds had been transformed.”
Basketball Ballarat, in partnership with the City of Ballarat, has twice narrowly missed a grant in the National Stronger Regions Fund that would allow a 3000-seat multi-purpose show court. The project has a $10 million shortfall. Basketball Ballarat, with the City, submitted a round three application by the Tuesday deadline.
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