WOMEN’S sport will be a big winner with work to upgrade the CE Brown Reserve under way.
The first demolition blows to old facilities – an old toilet block behind the social club rooms – were made on Monday. This will pave the way for construction to start on the $2.5 million facilities upgrade for ground tenants Lake Wendouree Football Netball Club, Wendouree Cricket Club and Wendouree Athletics Club.
A key feature will be designated female change rooms for netballers, youth girls and women’s footballers. This promotes the City of Ballarat’s push to female participation in sport and active recreation.
For female athletes, it is a game changer.
Lakers netball director Ellen O’Connell said it was a rare chance for females to properly prepare and debrief for games in comfort. And it would be one of the first clubs in the Ballarat Football Netball League to offer this.
“There’s nowhere really at the moment for our girls to change, apart from the toilets – and that’s not really appropriate,” Ms O’Connell said. “The new rooms should even allow teams a place to meet after games to discuss play.”
The construction phase is the next piece in the Eureka sporting precinct $31.5 million redevelopment: bringing Eureka Stadium to AFL standard, resurfacing Northern Oval number two and upgrading Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, which houses indoor basketball and netball.
Lakers committee member Shaun Holloway said the club had been lobbying for sorely-needed upgrades for more than a decade.
Mr Holloway said the Lakers and fellow tenants would lose some of the worst, cramped change rooms in the region for a modern multipurpose facility, including new kitchen and storage, that would set them all up for a long time.
Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas, who launched the start of construction works, said more than 1000 Ballarat families would benefit from new club and umpire facilities at the reserve.
“It’s about building sporting infrastructure not just for the elite level in Ballarat,” Mr Pallas said.
“…We need to recognise you don’t get to elite sport unless you build community sport as well.”
Wendouree MP Sharon Knight said investing in this reserve, and its grassroots people, was close to her heart.
Ms Knight said improving community grounds also strengthened pathways for future champions, like Western Bulldog Jordan Roughead who was a Lakers junior.