By Meg Kennedy
The current oval light poles at Ballan Recreation Reserve came from Pentridge Prison, so a grant for new lighting announced by the State Government last week was welcome news.
The State Labor Treasurer Tim Pallas made the funding announcement of $1.6 million at the Reserve as part of the Community Sport Infrastructure Loans Scheme, which provides low-interest loans for councils, clubs and organisations to deliver and improve community sport and recreation infrastructure.
The loan of $1.6 million to Moorabool council will deliver lighting projects at Ballan, Gordon, Wallace, Bungaree and Dunnstown recreation reserves.
Treasurer Pallas thanked the Moorabool Shire “for the way they’ve engaged with the state,” and noted the quality of the Shire’s submission to the scheme.
“The loan will be repaid at a significantly reduced interest rate; where Moorabool Shire and the government pick up half each,” he said.
Moorabool Mayor Paul Tatchell said the project is a “non-political scheme”.
“The extra lighting will open up capacity and give footballers equal opportunity as to what they get in Ballarat.
“We’re making sure we have facilities in moving forward to keep us at the top of our game,” he said.
Ballan Recreational Reserve President Billy Smith said the grant “means a great deal for Ballan Football Netball Club with increased participation”, joking that “the power bill should go down!”
Treasurer Pallas also took the opportunity to announce the Labor Government’s re-election promise of $3 million towards a major redevelopment of the Ballan Recreation Reserve, including a new pavilion, female-friendly changerooms and an extended oval.
“We have to change the way we’ve provided for sport facilities in the past, and that means much more substantial investment from the state in these areas,” he said.
The announcement by Mr Pallas follows on from the Liberal Government’s promise to deliver a $1 million upgrade of the reserve if elected by candidate for Buninyong Andrew Kilmartin.
“Labor’s re-election promise is massive for both the club and the community,” Mr Smith said,
But either outcome will mean great news for the Ballan Recreation Reserve.
“We should be (a winner) when it comes election time in November,” he said.