$1.45 million upgrade for Bendigo athletics facility on track

ON TRACK: The ageing La Trobe University Athletics Centre could be set for a major upgrade including a new $900,000 track.
ON TRACK: The ageing La Trobe University Athletics Centre could be set for a major upgrade including a new $900,000 track.

Council will consider investing millions into upgrading Bendigo’s athletics infrastructure when it meets this Wendesday. 

City of Greater Bendigo councillors will be asked to give the green light for council to purchase the La Trobe University Bendigo Athletics Centre from the university.

That would allow the city to invest $1.45 million into upgrading the facility, including $900,000 to replace the ageing track. 

The cost of the potential land transfer is being held confidential. 

Athletics Bendigo general manager Craig Green welcomed the news, saying the city would miss out on hosting major events if it continued to allow the track to deteriorate.

“The track built was around 2000 and the normal life of a track is about 10 years – so this is well overdue,” he said. 

“We’re very much looking forward to it being resurfaced again and to being able to attract major carnivals.

“We’ve hosted major events before but Australian Athletics has since lowered the ranking of the track, meaning our ability to host events like the Commonwealth Youth Games or the Oceania Masters in the future would be extremely doubtful given the current state of the track.”

La Trobe University currently owns the Spring Gully facility but council is responsible jointly responsible for its upkeep. The university will meet in February to discuss selling the facility and the city has a $900,000 bid in its next budget for the track upgrade. 

If the land transfer goes ahead and the money is allocated, the city expects the track works to be complete by the end of next summer. 

A further $300,000 for parking, $100,000 for fencing and $150,000 for landscaping would be considered in future budgets. 

Mr Green said the track was used by about 500 little athletics competitors, more than 250 senior athletes and several hundred casual users. But he said they would not be the only winners if the upgrade goes ahead. 

“This is a regional hub for athletics – it’s one of only three athletics facilities in regional Victoria,” he said.

“Our biggest users are the schools, we have 18,000 schools kids use the track for carnivals every year, from everywhere from Mildura to Deniliquin down to the Macedon Ranges.​”