Wimmera sport organisations have mixed reviews about the multi-purpose sports stadium | Video, poll

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PLANS for a multi-purpose sports stadium in Horsham have been released and the council is calling for feedback before it comes to a decision on the project's future. 

Within the project control group involved in developing the plan were representatives from Basketball Victoria, Horsham Volleyball Association, Horsham Table Tennis Association, Horsham Squash Association, Netball Victoria and badminton. 

The plans include three indoor sport courts marked for netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton, six squash courts with movable walls and five outdoor netball courts. The site, in Horsham, would have the capacity for 12 tables for table tennis.

Wimmera sports facilities

Horsham sports associations say a multi-purpose sports stadium could boost recreation opportunities in the region.

Horsham Table Tennis Association has been located at Horsham’s Maydale Pavilion since 1963. President Jeff Pekin said there was a need for improvements.

Mr Pekin described the pavilion as “a shearing shed”.

He said hygiene was a challenge because the pavilion was used for sheep shows and animal nurseries. 

“There are smells lingering in the air and stains on the floor, which is unhygienic for players,” he said.

“We can’t expect children, people with disabilities and our older members to play in these conditions.”

Mr Pekin said the association supported a multi-purpose stadium because there were benefits for table tennis and the broader indoor sports community.

Horsham Squash Association has access to six courts at 76 McPherson Street. President Chris Warrick said the club had difficulties securing funding because the building was privately owned.

“The current facilities are quite aged and will have an end date at some point. We need to be prepared to replace or maintain the facility we are in now otherwise we could see the end of squash,” he said. 

“It would be great to reward our player’s eagerness with a nice facility that caters to their needs.”

Horsham Volleyball Association is located across three sites – Horsham’s St Brigid’s College, Horsham College and the basketball stadium when available. 

President David Berry said a multi-purpose stadium would give the association an opportunity to expand with more courts available and reduce the burden on volunteers by operating from one location.

He said equipment would also be easily accessible for coaches. 

Mr Berry said volleyball had huge success in the Wimmera, but its members were “without a home”. 

“With what volleyball has achieved over time, we would like to think it’s worthy to put on display. We have national winning teams and gold medals and these achievements should be displayed,” he said. 

Horsham Badminton trains at Horsham College’s gymnasium.

Badminton member Trent King said a multi-purpose sports stadium would be advantageous moving forward. He said the ability to host a tournament would be one of many benefits.

​“A lot of our members are connected with other sporting organisations such as squash. Our views about the proposed stadium are not just for us and we can see a number of sports could benefit from having this new home,” he said.

The plans for a multi-purpose stadium, however, could directly impact a number of groups whose sports or events utilise existing land. 

The council released a Wimmera Sports Stadium business case and concept design report that shows that it would incorporate the existing basketball stadium into a proposed new building, which expands onto the showgrounds. A First World War memorial located behind the basketball stadium would move. 

Horsham Amateur Basketball Association board member Gareth Hiscock said the association asked to be excluded from proposed plans.

“From day one we said to council that we support the stadium, because there are other sports that aren’t as fortunate to have the facilities we have –  but under no circumstances is it to impact us. The way plans are going, it is going to cause irrefutable damage to our sport,” he said.

Mr Hiscock said about 500 members used the basketball stadium and they were one of the few sporting groups happy with their facilities. 

“They want to build it on top of us. We don’t want it or need it,” he said. 

A letter published on the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association Facebook page.

A letter published on the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association Facebook page.

Horsham RSL president Robert Lockwood said the group agreed to relocate a plaque honouring First World War soldiers from behind the basketball stadium to Sawyer Park’s war memorial. 

“The town must progress and as long as the movement of the memorial is done in a dignified manner, then we are happy for it to be consolidated with other memorials in Sawyer Park,” he said. 

The showgrounds could lose some land if the proposed stadium goes ahead but Horsham Agricultural Society secretary Andrea Cross said there would be minimal impact on the show. 

Mrs Cross said the show’s entry point was moved and the craft pavilion would relocate to the agricultural society-owned land. 

“Running the show on half the grounds will alleviate the energy needed to fill that space,” she said. 

Horsham Rural City Council Wimmera Sports Stadium business case and concept design report: