THE on again, off again multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Bendigo Tennis Complex is on again thanks to a $2.4 million injection from the Victorian Coalition government.
The Bendigo Tennis Association’s plan for a new showcourt, multi-purpose function centre and facilities created great excitement in August last year when the federal Labor government announced $5.2 million in funding for the project.
However, the federal Coalition government did not commit any funding to the BTA plan in this year’s budget.
That decision looked set to skittle the BTA’s hopes, but Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum will today officially announce at the launch of the Bendigo Festival of Tennis that $2.4 million will be made available to get the complex redevelopment started.
The BTA’S new Community and Event Operations Centre will include upgraded athlete and patron facilities including multi-purpose rooms, function space, kitchen, offices, shop and change rooms that can be adapted to meet the operational needs of major events, but also the day-to -day community requirements of the complex.
“The Bendigo Bank Tennis Complex, home of the Bendigo Festival of Tennis and one of regional Australia’s finest tennis venues, is fast developing a nationwide reputation as a hub for our next crop of Australian tennis stars to develop their skills and launch their careers,” Mr Drum said.
“This new project not only provides a boost for local tennis, but ensures the Bendigo Tennis Association can continue to host even more prestigious WTA, ATP and ITF tennis events well into the future.
“It’s another demonstration of how the Napthine Government is working hard for regional Victoria.”
BTA general manager Leon Retallick said the redevelopment would benefit more than just the Bendigo tennis community.
“We have an event starting next Wednesday that has 290 children playing in it and we expect around 700 people will visit Bendigo for the tournament,’’ Mr Retallick said.
”For events like those it’s critical that we continue to improve our venue, so that we can continue to host the major events that we already have and attract other big events to Bendigo.
“We can’t sit still because there is major tennis centres opening in Mornington and Craigieburn that will want to attract the same tournaments that Bendigo has.
“We know for sure that major tennis events we have in Bendigo attracts a lot of people to the city.
“An investment into the Bendigo Tennis Complex is great for Bendigo, not just tennis.”
City of Greater Bendigo Director City Futures Stan Liacos echoed Retallick’s thoughts.
“We welcome the announcement and we really look forward to working with the Victorian government, Tennis Australia and the BTA to help develop an exciting project proposal for Bendigo,’’ Mr Liacos said.