State government pledges $1.1 million to Donald stadium project

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PLANNING for an upgrade to sporting facilities at Donald is on the home stretch after the state government committed a further $1.1 million to the project on Friday.

The contributions brings the total money set aside for the project to $2.25 million with a further $500,000 required before the upgrades receive the official green light.

Community precinct committee chairman Danny Forrest said he was confident the final funding would be allocated to the project in 2018.

“The chief executive of the shire said in her speech on Friday night that they’re hoping to have construction completed in 2019,” he said.

“It’s a renovation so they could probably do the whole job in four to six months.”

Much of the project will focus on upgrading Dunstan Stadium with more than 30 groups expected to benefit as well as the wider Donald community.

It will the jewel in the crown for our community.

Danny Forrest

“It will the jewel in the crown for our community,” Forrest said.

“We live at the venue for that many different things and hopefully it will drive even more development in the town.”

The upgraded stadium will house new basketball and netball courts, new change rooms, community meeting rooms, a furbished function room, upgraded toilets and space for a community gym.

Forrest said the current change rooms used by umpires and netballers were “dingy” and in desperate need of improvement.

“The potential of the upgrade means that people can have bigger conferences, meeting or functions in town,” he said.

“At the moment once you get more than 100 people seated you get crammed in but we’ll be able to cater for more than 300.”

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford made the funding announcement as the Donald community started to work towards raising its own $250,000 contribution to the project.

She said sport was at the foundation and fabric of living in regional Victoria.

“Every Victorian deserves the very best sporting infrastructure,” she said.

“From emerging young gun athletes in the Wimmera who will enjoy new change rooms to spectators who will have better seating and function spaces.”

Forrest said the small group that had been working behind the scenes for 18 months was stoked when the funding announcement was confirmed.

“We couldn’t have been happier,” he said.

“It was the big one that was going to seal the deal. We’re in the home straight now.”

The community will continue to work hard to raise its contribution the project but went a significant way to doing so by raising more than $80,000 on Friday.

“The pressure is on us now to get our $250,000 commitment,” Forrest said.

“We need to thank the Buloke Shire for sticking with us and working with the community, and also the state government for believing us to give us a future.

“In country towns we don’t expect to get everything but it’s nice to get a few things every now and then because it gives you a bit of hope for the kids into the future.”