Cash boost for sports hub

Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas with members of local sporting teams. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

The Macedon Ranges has received another boost toward a new sporting hub.

Last week, the Victorian government announced a further $3.2 million for the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct to be built across two sites in New Gisborne at the corner of Barringo Road and Hamilton Road.

The precinct is estimated to cost $41.4 million. The state government committed $11.6 million towards the project as part of its 2019-20 budget, while ALF Victoria pledged $100,000 in July 2018.

Macedon Ranges council is planning to contribute $10 million.

A need for additional sports facilities in the area was identified during the Macedon Ranges council’s leisure strategy and indoor sports courts feasibility study, which took place from 2006 to 2009.

Star Weekly first reported on calls to support a sports centre in New Gisborne in May 2016, under its previous name as the New Gisborne Regional Sports Precinct.

Since then, the findings of the study have been endorsed by council and phase one of consultation, regarding concept design, was completed in September 2020.

Advocate Tamara Collins was part of the early team that pushed for funding three years ago. She said although the wait time has been “stretched out”, she’s pleased to see more facilities on the way.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, from the very beginning we’ve pushed for a space that can be used by everyone,” she said.

“My background is in basketball and I know that the need for more indoor courts is as relevant today as it was [back then].”

Phase two of the consultation period relating to schematic design is currently open and closes on May 3.

Local Government Minister Shaun Leane said the funding was part of the Growing Suburbs Fund, which assists projects in developing areas.

“I’m really pleased to be able to announce the first ever Growing Suburbs Fund project in Macedon Ranges and I can’t wait to see the sports precinct open for everyone to enjoy,” Mr Leane said.

Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas added her support for the precinct, saying she was “delighted” to see the region benefit.

“I’m delighted the Victorian government has continued its support for our thriving community with yet more significant support for the fantastic sports precinct project.”

The funding will contribute to the first stage of the precinct, which will include gardens, wetlands, an outdoor gym, barbecue areas and a fitness track.

According to the Macedon Ranges council website, stage one of works will begin in early 2022.