Creswick's waterlogged Doug Lindsay Reserve may soon see almost $300,000 in upgrades to "public safety infrastructure", but there's yet to be any definite progress on drainage improvements.
Hepburn Shire Council has approved a proposal to apply for state government funding for a raft of upgrade works, including signage, rubbish bins, CCTV, lighting and landscaping, which would be jointly funded through the Department of Justice and council.
The proposal follows a weekend game with one of the lowest match totals in league history, after two weeks of wet-weather home games left the oval a mudpit.
A 2018 masterplan for the reserve identified - among other potential upgrades - the need for an estimated $120,000 fix for the main oval's drainage.
Drainage issues at the reserve have been a sore point since it's 2012 opening, when "abrasive" materials used in oval's surface forced players off the field.
Hepburn Shire mayor Don Henderson, who in 2012 was critical of the reserve's "mismanagement", said there was a need to "put aside what's happened in the past".
"We do have to fix the ground and we fully intend to fix it," Cr Henderson said.
"We're going to do some works at Doug Lindsay - and that went through last night's council meeting - and we're working along with the committee and the footy club to fix the drainage."
Council documents reveal $40,000 in the shire's 2019/20 budget for a "Functional Concept Plan" and review of the reserve's 2018 masterplan.
Creswick Football Netball Club President Mick Alsop said while Doug Lindsay Reserve wasn't the worst local field, the drainage issues were a "high priority" for the club.
"Ours is a surface water problem, whereas a lot of other ovals are deep, thick mud," Mr Alsop said.
Mr Alsop said while the proposed safety upgrades were important, he would like to see drainage issues prioritised above other planned upgrades such as feature planting.
"It's a community centre, [council] is obviously concentrating on improving it for the community," Mr Alsop said.
The report tabled during Tuesday's council meeting found while there were issues with the oval's drainage, there was a need to prioritise other upgrades to "improve safety, security and confidence" in the reserve.
"The current state of the reserve has some deficiencies which need rectification, notably the poor oval drainage, the lack of car parking and landscaping," the report said.
"Due to these factors the reserve itself is not frequented outside organised sport and this has consequentially led to the facilities [being] a target of vandalism."
It is understood the council contracted an "assessment of drainage and alternative water supply options" for the reserve in late 2018.
Despite drainage issues, Doug Lindsay Reserve remains one of the top-rated fields in the region, according to the 2016 AFL Goldfields Regional Strategy.
Cr Henderson said the reserve is testament to the selflessness of the local community.
"I'd estimate that it's well above $800,000 that the community has put into that facility," Cr Henderson said.
"Where we can, we want to make that facility good for the community."
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