By Lachlan Ellis
After multiple delays and despite fears the project may not be finished until 2024, a local pavilion and community centre has opened this month.
The Darley Park Community and Sports Centre has had multiple planned completion dates since it was funded in September 2020 – November 2022, mid-March 2023, and then another delay due to water pressure issues.
But the long-awaited pavilion is now complete, with the Darley Football Netball Club (DFNC) receiving a nice surprise when the keys were handed over on Friday 1 September.
DFNC President Mark Shelly said it was fantastic to finally have the facility ready to go for both the sporting club tenants, and the wider community.
“It’s a massive relief for all and sundry, to finally be able to utilise the facilities. Obviously it’s the backend of the football season, but also for the community to see some activity in the building, is fantastic. I think it’s going to be a wonderful facility for the user groups and the community across the board to enjoy for many years,” Mr Shelly told the Moorabool News.
“We’d been in fairly regular contact with Moorabool Shire Council over the past few months. I think what took place is, when the water flow rate issue was uncovered, initially the thoughts were it’d take considerable months to fix. But to the credit of Council and Greater Western Water, I believe they went through the total water system in Darley and find a simpler solution.”
The pavilion has already seen some use, with members using it after the Qualifying Final win against Melton, and after training on Thursday 7 September.
And more importantly for the club, the BFNL transferred the Semi Final against North Ballarat from City Oval to Darley Park, allowing a big home crowd to watch the Seniors earn a place in the Grand Final.
The tenant clubs would have liked the project to be completed back in November 2022, but with the Darley women’s football team winning the premiership – and hopefully more silverware to come from the men’s football and the netballers – now is certainly a time for the Darley community to celebrate.
A launch event for the pavilion is in the works, and while a date hasn’t yet been set, Mr Shelly hopes it’ll be held “in the coming weeks”.
“It may even be later in the year, once the Cricket Club are operating out of there in the cricket season,” he said.