AFL Central Victoria is investigating the possibility of introducing a new senior football-netball club in Bendigo’s “eastern corridor”.
The eastern corridor extends from the outskirts of Bendigo through Mandurang, Strathfieldsaye and Junortoun.
With strong population growth in the area that includes a forecast average annual increase of four per cent a year at Strathfieldsaye until 2036, the AFL Central Victoria Commission has convened a working group to explore the possibility of a new football-netball club being established.
“We’re not pre-empting any outcomes, but what we’re saying is if we look through that area there is a growth corridor from a population point of view with a lot of young kids playing football,” AFLCV region manager Carol Cathcart said on Friday.
“Therefore what we need to look at is are there the numbers to possibly support a new senior club?
READ MORE – Loddon Valley league 2018 season review
“We’ve got three growth corridors coming out of Bendigo and so we’re going to look at each one in turn and this is our first one.”
AFLCV says the expansion of teams at Strathfieldsaye and St Francis of the Fields juniors over recent years highlights the growth of the eastern corridor that has created pressure on facilities within the area.
“In 2012 Strathfieldsaye Football-Netball Club had 10 junior teams. In 2018 this has grown to 18,” Cathcart said.
“In 2012 St Francis of the Fields from the same area had three junior teams. In 2018 this has grown to six teams.”
As part of the review process the working party is meeting with stakeholders in the area.
READ MORE – Heathcote District league 2018 season review
“The groups we will be talking to include Strathfieldsaye Football-Netball Club, St Francis of the Fields, the Strathfieldsaye Community Enterprise, Junortoun Action Group, council, schools in the area and the Heathcote District Football-Netball League, which has Mount Pleasant and Heathcote out that way,” Cathcart said.
“There’s a number of stakeholders we’re meeting with. The working group will consider all facets, including forecasts of future population, information gained from engagement with relevant stakeholders and facility opportunities.”
Once draft recommendations are completed the stakeholders and community will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the working party before a final report will be released early next year.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.