Stage two of the Selkirk Stadium redevelopment was officially opened on Friday, with three new 3x3 basketball courts ready in time for one of the biggest events held at the venue.
The $5.2 million stage two works at the former Ballarat Sports and Events Centre include the new outdoor courts, a mobile 3x3 court, a learning centre and a strength and conditioning centre for Ballarat's elite basketball and netball teams.
While due to the weekend's hot weather, the new courts are unlikely to be used for the NBL 3x3 Big Hustle National Championships, they will still be put to good use through activiations and remain open to the public after the event.
Ballarat Basketball CEO Neville Ivey said the new courts, which remain open to the public at all times, would benefit the entire community and brought basketball back to its most grassroots level.
"The great thing is they're a really good social connection tool. What happens is two or three kids rock up, then another three or four and all of a sudden they've got a little game happening, and we've seen that around some of the 3x3 courts around town," he said.
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"We've seen it over the States for many years, haven't we, the emergence of just that really good, social element of the game and it is a pathway.
"Kids will get out here and enjoy it, watch a bit of stuff on TV and then all of a sudden they're registering through us. We've got over 500 teams in a domestic competition and all of sudden, they're registering to be part of that."
Mr Ivey said the mobile court would be taken to schools, but he hoped to develop a list of 10 or 12 locations throughout the city to bring basketball to the masses.
"It's a trailer that you can just unpack the tiles and you can set up in a car park, basically, wherever you've got the room for a half court," he said.
"The hoop is on the back of the trailer itself, so it just winds out, so really good, accessible, easy to set up tool that we'll have now to move around to schools. We already do a lot of work in schools now, but to be able to take it more to the public and more accessible to the public is a great tool in our armory to promote basketball.
"We're in discussions and we're hoping to get probably 10 or 12 identified and we'll just rotate, particularly in the warmer months and really activate those areas and get into the community, get down to Delacombe, get down to Sebastopol, and those areas that probably don't have a lot of facility in terms of basketball."
Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said the new courts would help fill the strong demand for basketball in Ballarat.
"Not only are these competition grade, it means that community grassroots basketballers can come around the clock and enjoy these new facilities," she said.
"We know that basketball is so popular in Ballarat with over 3000 players every week enjoying the game, whether it be at junior level, adult level, whether it's a social comp or really high level comp, we know that playing basketball is not only great for your physical wellbeing, but it's also great for mental health.
"We know with the demands of basketball, the Minerdome served us well for a long time, but the number of people wanting to play just kept growing and growing. This gives us more courts which allows more games to be held every week, and that's a great outcome for the community."
Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said there once was a time when people would have to move away from the city to pursue a sporting career.
"One things I love most about this is that young people, teenagers in particular, can play sport here, they can actually then see some of the best male and female basketballers in the state and in the country come here to play some competitive games and then they can do that development training here and continue on throughout their careers without necessarily needing to move away, and I think that's a massive thing that's come about due to some of these physical improvements," he said.
"I'd love to see some of the pop-up court options arrive in even the centre of Ballarat, because while we have some fantastic facilities in our suburban areas, some of these fantastic multimillion dollar facilities, being able to also bring sport out to the broader population into some new exciting environments, I think will continue to evolve the sport and the interest in it.
"We're lucky to already have some of the big names of Australian basketball here right now playing WNBL, so having that even in the CBD of Ballarat in the future would be fantastic."
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