New hope for highball facility
WONTHAGGI is a step closer to developing a well supported highball stadium.
Local basketballers packed the gallery to hear Bass Coast Shire Council rescind its decision not to seek funding opportunities last Wednesday.
Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association president Cathy Garnham was thrilled with this result.
“We are happy that it’s been overturned. Hopefully the council will apply for the funding and we can now work together to get this new facility at the new school precinct in Wonthaggi, not just for the basketball association and Wonthaggi, but for everyone in the entire shire and a multitude of sports.”
Cr Michael Whelan said council should have considered the economic benefit of the stadium at its last meeting in February, when council initially dismissed funding.
“I supported this facility last time. This facility is associated with the education precinct, and the prospect of a new school spurs our shire,” he said.
“Here we have an emphasis on social benefit. Better facilities encourage young people to engage in health activities. Not only that, they are going elsewhere to play sport.
“I spoke to some of the basketballers, who told me they sometimes have five hours between games at tournaments. What do they do during that time? They go shopping. We are losing commercially.
“I understand the concern about funding, but this is about bringing income into the shire.”
As well as showing unanimous support for the facility, council also voted to open a reserve fund for the highball stadium.
Money will be allocated to this fund through the regular budget process to go towards council’s required $2 million contribution to the stadium.
“Whether the stadium is built at the school or as part of phase two the leisure centre, we will have money set aside to pay to the facility in advance, instead of taking on debt,” Cr Julian Brown said.
Cr Bruce Kent assured the community that – regardless of its last decision – council encourages healthy lifestyles in the community.
“I’d like to say that no matter what the community has heard, I am confident that every councillor supports this community and wants to see children engaged in these activities.”
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