Sporting win for city

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 25-Jan-2018

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Margaret O'Rourke, John Eren, Maree Edwards and Craig Niemann at the QEO. Photo: Andrew Perryman.
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PLANNED upgrades to two major Bendigo sporting facilities have been given a kick along.

The Victorian government has its support behind a redevelopment of the Bendigo Hockey Complex, which has hosted international matches in each of the past two summers.

Plans for female change facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Oval have also been given a boost, with work likely to start later this year.

While council is funding works to redevelop the clubrooms complex at Ashley Street hockey centre, sport minister John Eren announced $650,000 of funding to replace the facility’s pitches with a new synthetic base.

The new pavilion complex will also be fitted out with dedicated female changeroom facilities.

“Hockey is really shooting goals in Bendigo with a strong local and regional competition,” Mr Eren said.

“We’re making sure players and administrators have the facilities to grow the game and take it to the highest level.”

Council is tipping in $4.1 million to the hockey complex redevelopment, with Hockey Central Victoria – which has funded a significant portion of recent works at the site – to fund $200,000 of works.

That model has also been followed at the QEO, where netballers will have dedicated facilities following several calls to upgrade the facilities.

The QEO’s away changerooms, co-located with Bendigo Aquatic Centre, do have female facilities but require a long walk and are not always open.

Council funded $690,000 in the last budget to progress works on the area, as part of a larger $1.1m commitment to improve facilities at the QEO.

The state government is tipping in $100,000 and Sandhurst Football Netball Club is funding $60,000.

Preliminary designs are still being finalised for the project which, like the hockey complex works, is expected to start in October after the season finishes.

Sandhurst president Chris Greene described it as exciting for the club, saying the works fit in with the club’s aim to develop its netball program.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the QEO’s standing as the premier netball and football facility in the region meant the works were all the more important.

“The construction of dedicated change rooms for female participants is a critical element of the overall site development,” she said.

“The concept designs are completed and we look forward to receiving feedback from users shortly, and hope to start building in October.”

Works on increased spectator shelter are also continuing at the QEO as part of council’s master plan for the facility.

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