Letters to the editor | December 11, 2017

Sport stadium concept

AS CHAIRMAN of the Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Stadium Project Control Group, I am privileged to present our completed work for the community’s inspection.

Our small group of enthusiastic supporters of indoor sport, under the guidance of our state government representative, have worked with our architect, our community engagement consultant and council staff to produce a historic document.

Improving facilities, for indoor sport, has featured as a priority since the 2005 Sport and Recreation Strategy, and again in the 2013 strategy. They have been talked about for too long. We need modern facilities that are compliant, safe and will encourage growth in participation rates for all ages within our community. 

In the past 10 years, throughout our municipality, outdoor sports have received many new and upgraded facilities.

Now is the time for the indoor games.

In this comprehensive document are four things: what a new, modern, regional standard stadium could look like; what it could cost to use and run; how could the various sports be managed with fair scheduling; and a preferred management model.

Council’s existing basketball stadium has served the community well. The basketball association has produced hundreds of fine basketballers – many having gone on to represent their state and even their country.

Under this concept plan, the existing stadium will remain and be a part of the new facility. Overall, four fully compliant basketball courts, six volleyball courts, 10 badminton courts, five outdoor and three indoor netball courts, six squash courts and an area for 12 table tennis tables will all be available in different configurations. Long-term, further courts can be added to the east of the building. New and emerging sports have also been considered in the design.

The building also features a café, toilets, meeting and storage spaces, car parking and administration areas. Being part of the showgrounds precinct will also provide opportunities for the agricultural society at show time and throughout the year.

The fee structure has been designed to consider affordability for families and, not unlike the town hall, has a tiered set of fees, ranging from $15 to $25 per hour per court and up to $30 per hour for commercial hirers. The preferred management model is for the council to operate the facility with an advisory group of users.  This takes on the experience of other similar facilities at Ballarat, Warrnambool, Albury, Colac, Darebin and Yarra Ranges.

It is important that people can make informed decisions about whether they support the concept or not, and that’s what it is – a concept. Further down the track, in time, the PCG recommends that the council “adopts” the report and moves to the next step in this important project.

I acknowledge the work of all of our Project Control Group members and the sporting associations that they represent.

We have appreciated the enthusiastic input from Basketball Victoria, Netball Victoria and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

Wimmera residents, I commend the Wimmera Sports Stadium Business Case and Concept Design Report to you.

The report can be viewed on the council’s website, at Horsham Library or at the Horsham Civic Centre.

Mark Radford, Horsham Rural City councillor

Shop local for Christmas

WITH Christmas weeks away, I take the opportunity to urge your readers to consider supporting local shops and traders.

Small business is the backbone of the towns across Western Victoria and it’s important we show our support.

In this day and age, many people buy Christmas presents online, but every dollar spent online is a dollar that can’t be used to employ local young people or improve shops in the local community.

Statistically, almost five million Australians are employed in small business.

Horsham and many smaller towns in the Wimmera offer terrific gift shops, butchers, bakers, grocers, restaurants, cafes, pubs and an array of other businesses. We need to encourage and support them at the cash register. By supporting small business, you ensure they continue to survive and employ local people in your community.

My message to readers is the same as last Christmas and the one before: please visit your local shopping strips and small businesses and spend a dollar with them this Christmas. It’s important for their survival and it helps to retain valued businesses in country Victoria.

Jaala Pulford, Member for Western Victoria 

What truly matters

WITH all of life’s distractions, we sometimes forget the true meaning of Christmas.

When we are caught up buying presents and overindulging in food, Christmas can be a time when we often forget what really matters. But bad experiences and misfortunes can culminate at Christmas time, which means for vulnerable and marginalised Australians, Christmas can be the hardest time of the year.

For the Salvos it’s our busiest period, with more than 300,000 families and individuals seeking assistance. We give out more than 500,000 gifts and toys, and serve over 10,000 meals to those who don’t have the means to celebrate Christmas. 

We can only meet this need because year after year Australians come together and stand by those doing it tough. This, I believe, is the true meaning of Christmas. 

So this holiday season let’s remember those going it alone. By donating $29 to The Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal, you can help put a present under the tree and food on the table, bringing hope where it’s needed most.

Neil Venables, The Salvation Army

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