Vision vital for sport opportunities

PLANS to expand the Bendigo Stadium must go ahead otherwise the region will fall behind and miss out on significant sporting opportunities, the chief executive says. 

Jason Wallace said the stadium was already turning back major events because of its limited capacity. 

But things are set to change. 

The Bendigo Stadium Masterplan, which was released for public comment this week, plans to assist future growth by providing a 3000-seat arena and three court expansion. 

Bendigo Stadium will provide more than half of the $16.5 million of funding needed, but is awaiting a funding commitment from the state or federal government to ensure plans go ahead. 

"We are bursting at the seams and if we don't get funding for this vision, we could miss out on so many opportunities," he said. 

"Other regions, such as Ballarat, have plans and promises to build a bigger facility and they could steal a lot of events from us. 

"It could also affect our grassroots sports because as it stands, we are at full capacity with junior games."

He said hosting major events wasn't a seemless operation - with many local matches bumped off to cater for the increased demand. 

If approved, stage one of the plan would include development of the three courts and supporting amenities. Stage two would include construction of spectator seating for 3000 people to watch concerts or sporting events.

“The stadium currently does not have enough room to cater for the expected extra 2500 participants across basketball, volleyball and netball over the next two decades,” Mr Wallace said.

He said netballers would also have new courts, new change rooms and the option to play indoors.

However Golden City Netball Association holds concerns regarding the relocation of the 12 netball courts. 

Secretary Maree Dixon said the group did not want to lose what they have. 

"We're not objecting to the plans but just want a guarantee that we won't lose any of our courts," she said. 

"We are yet to get that confirmation in writing."

However Mr Watson said the association, along with other stakeholders, would benefit greatly from the expansion at no cost to them. 

To comment on the plan visit www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay until August 29.

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