By Esther Lauaki
A Macedon Ranges Sports Precinct remains a top priority for the council, despite missing out on federal funding.
The council had sought $4 million in the latest round of the federal government’s Building Better Regions Fund to get stage one of the precinct, the New Gisborne Regional Sports Field, off the ground.
Macedon Ranges mayor Jennifer Anderson said the council would continue to work with community groups to secure funding.
“The Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct project is one of our top priorities …The sooner we can start building it the better.
“Our research into both the need for outdoor sportsfields and indoor sporting facilities has shown that there is a current shortfall in provision of these facilities in the shire.”
Cr Anderson said the council had advocated for the precinct when it met with parliamentary representatives in Canberra during the Australian Local Government Association annual conference in June.
Sports precinct advocate Helen Sankey said it was a disappointing blow for community campaigners who were now hoping for support from the state.
“People don’t just have to leave their towns, they have to leave the shire to be able to access the indoor space that they need,” Ms Sankey said.
“That’s not just for basketball, that’s for all indoor sports … football ovals are desperately needed in our region as well.”
Ms Sankey said council had temporarily closed sports fields in Gisborne to preserve them for finals.
“We’re seeing thousands of users every week … with facilities at capacity,” she said.
“We have missed out on federal funding, so we would need to work towards state funding next.”
The $42 million precinct, planned for the corner of Barringo and Hamilton
roads, would combine an indoor sports facility with the $14.2 million New Gisborne Regional Sports Fields Project, currently being planned for the same site.
The precinct project depends on funding from the council and state and federal governments.
AFL Victoria recently committed $100,000 to help develop the precinct.