WALLAN’S Greenhill Reserve is now able to cope with growing demand and host more night games and training sessions thanks to its new field lights.
Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green was joined by Mitchell Shire Council members and community representatives to officially flick the switch on the lighting last week, which will benefit the more than 700 players who use the sports ground.
Greenhill Reserve is home to Wallan Football Netball Club, Wallan Junior Football Club and Wallan District Cricket Club, which Greenhill Reserve Committee of Management president Neal Langborne said have all been on the rise.
“We’ve probably grown 30 per cent in the last three years, on top of what had already had major growth with all the senior football ranks, so we had three teams now we’ve got four teams,” he said.
“These lights will make a huge difference to our club and our community, it means we will be able to welcome new players and build the ranks of our junior, women’s and men’s teams.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said council was committed to working with the State Government to provide better sporting facilities.
“With the population of Wallan set to increase by more 200 per cent in the next 20 years, we need to keep investing in local sporting facilities,” she said.
“We are a growing shire and part of our role as council is to work with our government and community partners to help provide facilities and the opportunity to play sport and connect.”
The new lighting towers on the main oval provide lighting suitable for training and competition day and night.
The reserve’s two netball courts, constructed in the past five years, had no permanent lighting until now, with players relying on temporary lighting for training.
The Main Oval Lighting Project received $208,800 from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $104,200 from council, while the Netball Court Lighting Project received $83,525 from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $44,975 from council.
“The original lights that we first put up, two lots, in 1980 and in 1995 we put up six lights, but they were all just self-funded. This is the first time we’ve got some major funding,” Mr Langborne said.
It’s a big year for the ground, with $890,000 in State Government grant funding from coming its way, along with Mitchell Shire contributing a further $740,000 towards four key projects. A cricket net reconstruction is currently underway, and $1 million upgrades to female-friendly changing rooms commence in September.
But with the clubs growing, the committee is still looking long-term, seeking funding for an undercover netball court, and a new football and cricket ground to cope with expansion.
Ms Green said better sport and recreation facilities made it easier for people to get back to local sport and recreation when it was safe to do so and lead healthy and active lifestyles.
“The new lighting at Greenhill Reserve provides a real incentive for local clubs to ramp up their training and development and for locals to join in the fun,” she said.