According to a recent report by Football Federation Victoria (FFV), the need for greater sports infrastructure should be high on the councils priority list going forward.
The State Football Facilities Strategy to 2026 has identified the possible need for up to nine new soccer pitches in the Ballarat area in the next eight years.
The report identified the need for improvements to existing facilities, such as lights so teams can train safely in the evening, and better drainage systems under the pitches.
These sentiments were echoed by Ballarat and District Soccer Association President Herman Bogers.
“We need improvements to our current facilities,” said Mr Bogers.
“Teams need to be able to play and train in a safe manner, so new lights at pitches would be a top priority, as well as female friendly change rooms for our women’s teams.”
The rapid growth of participation in the sport in the region, especially in women, means the need for better facilities is paramount.
Whether these needs can be met will depend on council’s ability to roll out its plans for grass-roots level soccer.
The City of Ballarat’s has applied for the State Government’s $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Loans Scheme, and if successful, would fast track the roll-out over a two-year period.
The application would implement $16 million dollars towards sporting infrastructure investment over the next two years.
“We do not want our many clubs and their members losing out because facilities cannot keep up with this positive growth, and more importantly we want our facilities to be available for everyone no matter their age, gender or ability,” said Deputy Mayor Daniel Moloney.
If the council’s funding application is successful, seven identified sights have been marked for improvement.
Russell Square, Alfredton Village Green, Pleasant Street, St Georges Reserve, Victoria Park, Trekardo Park, Wendouree West Reserve, Royal Park Buninyong have all been identified as needing new facilities in some form, however, only three new pitches have been proposed, short of the minimum of five recommended by the FFV.
The completion of these facilities would go a long way in furthering the already growing sport in the region.
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