Time to have a say on sports stadium | editorial

A PROPOSED multi-purpose sports stadium for Horsham is generating significant debate within the community and further afield.

The poor condition of many facilities across our rural city is well documented.

Horsham Table Tennis Association’s long-serving base at Maydale Pavilion is the perfect example, where players of all ages and abilities are competing in a shed also used for sheep shows and animal nurseries. 

Other sporting associations lack a place to call “home”. Horsham Volleyball Association is located across three sites yet it has regularly developed its players to a national standard. Then there are other associations that have outgrown facilities no longer appropriate for modern use, as demand and regulation changes over time. 

Plans for the multi-purpose stadium encompass indoor courts marked for netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton as well as six squash courts, space for 12 table tennis tables, program rooms and offices as well as five outdoor netball courts. 

The location of the existing basketball association and across McBryde Street into the showgrounds is the preferred space for the project. Its expected price tag falls somewhere between $17 and $25 million. 

There’s a lot to like about the plans. There’s little doubt that a multi-purpose stadium in Horsham could attract and accommodate high-level tournaments and promote the Wimmera to a wide audience. 

But it’s also clear the location of the proposed multi-purpose sports stadium is one dividing factor among the community. Leading this, Horsham Amateur Basketball Association officials are fighting to retain their facility as a standalone space.

Closing McBryde Street paired with possible impacts to traffic as well as the site’s vicinity to a flood mitigation area have also prompted concern. The project control group says it has the answer to these issues and has worked to develop the proposal over many months while consulting with local and state groups as well as assessing the success of like facilities in other regional cities. 

Horsham Rural City councillors are due to vote on the future of the project soon – and they want to hear from you. There is no surety this project will go ahead – certainly, funding is one of the first hurdles the council will tackle should it vote for the project to proceed. But whether you support it, or whether you don’t – be a good sport and ensure your voice is heard.  

Jessica Grimble, editor

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