INDOOR stadium facilities and outdoor lighting have been big playing cards between Labor and the Liberal-Nationals in the state election build-up.
Each move has been about trying to find a winning edge.
The Lake Wendouree track lighting project was one of the first major calls for the region put in spotlight by the Liberal-Nationals. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy pulled on his sneakers and shorts to pledge $1.7 million in July to light up the Steve Moneghetti Track, before running a lap of the lake with Liberal MP Joshua Morris and candidates Amy Johnson (Wendouree) and Andrew Kilmartin (Buninyong).
Mr Guy said funds would be made available by the first budget, should the Coalition win power.
This is a project that was left in the dark for more than a decade with a wide range of lake users calling for the track to be lit early morning and in the evening, particularly during winter, to create a safer place for people to get moving.
Lake lighting found traction once more than 80 per cent of Ballarat residents supported the concept in City of Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree master plan. Council voted to adopt the project as a high priority late last year.
City of Ballarat has already identified lighting would be timed and in heritage style.
Labor came out last month and doubled the potential in a $2.5 million promise to light up the lake and Victoria Park. Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford delivered the news in a walk with her dog about Lake Wendouree.
Steve Moneghetti has long championed lighting for the track named in his honour as a safety measure and to promote health and said the long-awaited promises were a huge boost for the city.
“I thought I might be in my wheelchair before we saw lights around here, so it’s terrific to have that commitment from both sides,” Mr Moneghetti has said. “It’s something the community needs and the community deserves.”
See what’s on offer at this State Election with our wrap-up coverage on key areas and key promises:
Not too far away, construction is underway for the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre redevelopment. Labor delivered $9 million from the last state election and a $10 million Liberal federal grant last year helped bring stage one to its full potential: six new courts, including a 3000-seat arena.
Wendouree Indoor Sports alliance made plans for stage two works, which would involved a purpose-built strength and conditioning community gym and three-on-three basketball courts for 24-hour, outdoor street ball access. Works would include a modern, exterior stadium wrap to unite existing facilities with the new wing.
The Liberals have pledged $5.2 million for the lot.
Labor has matched this and upped the promise with an extra $6.6 million for Mars Stadium upgrades as part of the package. Premier Daniel Andrews said this funding was to boost game day experience for major sporting events, including more AFL matches for premiership points.
New ticket boxes, covered areas, permanent bathrooms and food and drinks areas, are high on the agenda with improved accessible seating and standing viewing, and fixing stadium niggles, like lighting.
Basketball Victoria chief Peter Eddy has said the extra BSEC works will allow for stronger community partnerships with University of the Third Age and Federation University programs and promote informal recreation.
New sporting and community facilities at Wendouree West Recreation Reserve will come into play under Labor, which has promised $7 million to redevelop the hub.
Soccer pitches to cater to growing demand are a key feature in the master plan, which also includes a new pavilion, Wendouree Neighbourhood Centre and basketball and skate facilities. Funding would also provide lighting for night soccer, a dog park at the site and accessible play spaces.
The Liberals have looked to ease pressure on hockey fields, with facilities feeling the squeeze in town. A $1.7 million promise would offer a new pitch and upgrades to 25-year-old change rooms at Prince of Wales Park, allowing Hockey Ballarat to host state-level competitions.
Haddon wins regardless of the election result. Labor has promised $220,000 for a full floor replacement for the town’s recreation stadium while the Liberals have pledged $125,000. Golden Plains Shire will fund the remainder of the bill.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.