Major boost for Clare and Jamestown oval developments

An $880,000 funding injection from the State Government has boosted the Clare Sporting Precinct Redevelopment Project a step closer to reality, and Jamestown’s Victoria Park Community Sporting Hub will receive $400,000 to develop new unisex changerooms.

The funding is part of a $6 million investment in sports facilities across South Australia in round two of the Grassroots Football, Cricket and Netball Facility Program.

Round three of the program, worth $5m, is now already open for applications and will close Thursday, April 30.

Facilities upgrades for the 12 successful projects in round two will start over the next six months and include projects such as construction of family-friendly changerooms, lighting upgrades and playing surface improvements.

Successful projects were recommended to the Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Corey Wingard by a panel made up of members from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, South Australian National Football League (SANFL), South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) and Netball SA.

Minister Corey Wingard said the challenges of COVID-19 made it more important than ever to invest in the future of South Australian sport so it could ‘emerge stronger on the other side’.

“By getting these projects started, we’re giving these venues the best chance to bounce back from this pandemic by attracting more community sports participants,” he said.

“The aim of the Grassroots Program remains the same – to develop core infrastructure which increases participation through the development of good quality, well designed and utilised facilities.

“We’re excited to see the outcomes of round two where a $6m investment will contribute to more than $27 million in project value.”

Minister Wingard delivered the good news via a Zoom online link to members of the Clare Oval Redevelopment Committee (CORC) on Thursday, with Member for Frome Geoff Brock, and representatives of the South Australian Cricket Association, South Australian National Football League, Netball SA also joining in to hear the news.

Jamestown’s Victoria Park Jamestown Management Committee was also delivered the funding news via Zoom last Thursday, ahead of an official announcement to the public by the Minister yesterday.

Jamestown’s successful Grassroots project will include four new, unisex player changerooms, male/female umpire changerooms, and office/meeting room/classroom added onto the existing Big Shed facility to service both the stadium and oval.

Victoria Park management committee chair, Andrew Stacey, said the new changeroom and meeting facilities to be built along the eastern side of the Big Shed would “enhance” the existing structure and provide safer, more accessible facilities for all.

“As a community we’re over the moon about the funding, particularly the many female players who use the oval and the stadium,” he said.

“The stadium was built 14 years ago and we’ve been hoping to be able to add some change rooms ever since.

“The beauty of the design of this project is that it will have facilities which can serve all of the groups who use both the stadium and the oval, as well as offering administration facilities which will be very important for sports who are hosting training sessions for coaches, umpires and administrators.

“The days of female players lining up to get changed in the toilet will be long gone, which helps remove yet another hurdle toward people participating in organised sport.

“It’s been a real team effort across the several stadium tenants, just like it was to get the stadium built. It’s very true that many hands make light work.”

In Clare, CORC has been working closely with Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council (CGVC) to secure funds for its proposed oval upgrade project.

While the Clare oval redevelopment still requires planning and development approval, the Grassroots funding for Clare oval includes:

– construction of a new unisex change room facility including umpire’s rooms, medical rooms,

– a function centre,

– outdoor spectator seating and viewing areas.

CORC chair Will Gwynn-Jones said after six years of hard work by the redevelopment committee, news of significant funding from the State Government was a huge step forward for the project.

“It ratifies that the State Government can see the need for this, and its future uses beyond the generic sports, to ultimately be of benefit to the whole community,” he said.

“But it will be of huge benefit to the clubs involved in what is one of the most used regional sports grounds in the state.”

The Grassroots funding would assist in stage one of a Clare oval redevelopment project, with stage two to further include oval surface and lighting.

CGVC has committed to funding 40 per cent of the project cost (up to $1.96 million), local sports clubs have committed to significant project investment, and CORC is hopeful it may be also successful in round four of the Building Better Regions Funding to enable completion of the project if it gains full development approval.

South Clare Sports Club and North Clare Football Club and Netball Club welcomed the funding news.

South Clare president Nick Heath said he was excited for what an updated sports and community facility could bring to the region, including the possibility of attracting higher level sporting events as well as providing a future for
local sport.

“It’s fantastic, it’s actually quite overwhelming and gratifying that the level of work and effort from the people involved is paying off,” he said.

North Clare Football Club president Ian Pearce said the Clare oval redevelopment would ensure the future of local clubs and provide enhancement and potential to sport for the whole region.

“It’s a wonderful achievement for the club to receive funding to assist in getting up-to-date facilities that are all inclusive for players, volunteers, families and the community,” he said.

“For football, netball, cricket – for everyone.”