CONSTRUCTION on the long-awaited Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct, MRRSP, got underway last week with a sod-turning ceremony for stage one of the project.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council announced Lloyd Group as the contractor for construction of the New Gisborne precinct’s first stage, which will see the building of a three-court sports hub, a natural turf oval and sports pavilion, passive recreation facilities, landscaping and associated infrastructure.
The completed MRRSP is planned as a 15-hectare regional park providing facilities for a range of sport and recreation activities.
Council representatives were joined by state Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas at the sod turn on Friday.
The State Government provided $14.8 million for stage one of the project through Sport and Recreation Victoria and the Growing Suburbs Fund, with Melbourne Water committing nearly $350,000, AFL Victoria contributing $100,000 and council adding $10.9 million.
Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell and the Labor Party made an election pledge of $15 million for stage two of the project last month.
Council Mayor Jennifer Anderson welcomed the contract announcement, describing the sports precinct as a key project for the shire.
She said it would support the community’s sporting needs while improving social connections and health outcomes.
“This new multi-facility sports precinct will allow residents to come together for a range of healthy activities and cater to team sporting needs—to interact, develop and build community cohesion,” she said.
Long-term MRRSP advocate and former Macedon Ranges basketball administrator Megan Condron said with more locals keen to play sport, the new facilities would allow clubs to grow and provide greater access to competition within the shire.
“For us it’s about having a home and giving our juniors a choice, so they don’t have to make decisions based on whether or not their parents are able to drive them out of the region,” she said.
Once complete, the MRRSP will be capable of hosting regional competitions, which council officials said would provide flow-on effects for tourism and employment across the shire.
Ms Spence said the project was expected to create 68 full-time jobs during construction and another 23 jobs once fully operational.
“New Gisborne is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Macedon Ranges, and it’s important that local communities have modern and accessible sporting facilities so people can get out and stay active,” she said.
“Community sport is not just important for our physical and mental health but it also brings people together, keeping Victorians connected.”
Council chief executive Bernie O’Sullivan said the new facilities would support a growing population and take pressure off council-managed sporting facilities that were at or nearing capacity.
“The new sports precinct is a big-ticket item for our growing community,” he said.
“We’re very excited about the contract award for stage one and are looking forward to officially celebrating construction commencement with the turning of the first sod. We … will of course continue with advocacy efforts to ensure we can deliver stage two and see this project through to completion.”
Stage one is due to be completed, with stage two, which includes three additional sports hub courts, a function room, additional car parking, a practice oval, outdoor multi-sport courts and more sports pavilion amenities still contingent on further funding.
For information on job opportunities and subcontracts arising from this project, people can visit lloydgroup.com.au.