The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester says Lakes Entrance sportsmen and women will finally receive upgraded facilities through a grant of nearly $360,000 for Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve.
Mr Chester said new and improved changeroom facilities were long overdue and congratulated the Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve Committee of Management for working hard to raise the additional $100,000 needed to fully fund the project.
“There’s been a huge effort over many years by our volunteers to raise money for the recreation reserve and it’s great the Federal Government has come on board with the biggest grant we’ve seen in decades for local footballers, netballers, cricketers and umpires,” Mr Chester said.
“The current changeroom facilities were constructed in the 1960s and were not built for female players, umpires or volunteers. They are not up to standard and need to be replaced.
“It’s good to see the hard work of the recreation reserve committee rewarded after so many years.
“The reserve is the key sports facility in Lakes Entrance with around 350 users each week, making it one of the busiest venues in East Gippsland. This upgrade is desperately needed to provide suitable change facilities and encourage young people to participate in the sports on offer.”
Mr Chester said the project would be managed by the Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve Committee of Management, which has committed to employ local contractors to support local jobs wherever possible.
Committee of Management chairman Chris Radford said the committee had been working hard for many years to raise the money needed to replace the old weatherboard building.
“This project was part of the Recreation Reserve’s master plan and, after more than 10 years of fundraising, the committee will contribute $100,000 to build the new changerooms,” Mr Radford said.
“It’s well-known that the current facilities were originally built to cater for men. They don’t meet today’s modern community standards and don’t cater for women or umpires.
“The new changerooms will cater equally for male and female sporting participants, umpires, volunteers and other users. There’ll be four gender-neutral change rooms and four gender neutral amenity areas.
“There will also be three gender-neutral umpire rooms and amenities. These rooms will have retractable floor-to-ceiling walls so the space can also be used for meetings.
“We’ve been working with all levels of government for many years and are delighted Darren Chester has been able to secure this commitment from the Federal Government to allow us to finally get the works underway.
“Improved change facilities will encourage more people to play sports in our community promoting healthy active lifestyles. Improved facilities will also help us to build up our clubs’ successes by encouraging more players to stay at our clubs for longer.”
The $358,590 grant is being provided through the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant program, which focuses on upgrading facilities that help build participation in physical activity, community partnerships and inclusiveness.
More than 2000 applications for funding were received. Due to the interest, the Federal Government will allocate an additional $30 million for projects in early 2019 from the existing pool of applications.