One of Ballarat’s burgeoning sporting codes could soon be playing on a brand new pitch, depending on who scores in the state election.
Despite the rain on Tuesday, election promises kept on flowing, with the Victorian Liberals committing $1.8 million to create a second hockey pitch in Ballarat if elected on November 24.
The potential funding would also include an upgrade of the 25-year-old change rooms at the Prince of Wales Precinct, to allow Hockey Ballarat to host state-level competitions.
WestVic Hockey representative hockey program president Mark Churcher, whose club is based at the Prince of Wales park, said the addition is much needed, with almost 400 people competing in Ballarat’s hockey competitions.
“At the moment we have up to 60 players training at the same time, on a very small pitch, with hockey balls travelling at a very high speed,” he said.
“It’s just inadequate for those players to train at a level that allows them to maximise their performance.
“This pitch is utlised from 8’o clock on Saturday morning until 7 o’clock Saturday night, and the same all day Sunday.”
Hockey Ballarat have been in discussions with City of Ballarat for more than three years to find a greenfield site to build a new hockey pitch, but no decisions have been made.
Mr Churcher said while Prince of Wales Park was “ideally the home of hockey in Ballarat” with the city’s only public pitch, a co-located pitch at the precinct would have limited access.
Wendouree candidate Amy Johnson said with Hockey Ballarat’s 33 teams playing on one pitch, they’re “absolutely at capacity”.