MP Darren Cheeseman was accompanied by former prime minister Bob Hawke when he stood in a drizzly Shell Road car park to announce that a re-elected Gillard Labor Government would provide $2 million towards Ocean Grove’s long fought sports precinct.
Just a week earlier and Cheeseman’s August 21st opposition candidate Sarah Henderson had stood in the same place to show shadow sports minister Steven Ciobo why the town so desparately needed decent facilities.
Henderson was able to match Cheeseman’s pledge later the same day.
The news means that Ocean Grove is roughly one quarter of the way towards getting the total funding for the project which goes beyond Shell Road.
However, with federal funding now secure whoever gets elected, the onus will now be on the state candidates to pledge the same later this year.
The upgraded Shell Road sports precinct will include a pavilion which incorporates change rooms, community meeting space and social facilities.
“This upgraded precinct will mean that residents will have more opportunities for recreation in our local area. This will be a fantastic resource for the local community,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“I look forward to seeing the Ocean Grove Community and Sports Precinct become a reality,” Mr Cheeseman concluded.
On matching the funding Sarah Henderson said: “Mr Ciobo was taken aback by the very poor standard of facilities that currently exist.
“He inspected the plans and played a big role in delivering this funding commitment on behalf of the Coalition,” Ms Henderson said.
“It’s one of the major projects in the region that I have been fighting for. Ocean Grove is a rapidly growing community. This sporting precinct is an important part of Ocean Grove’s future,” Ms Henderson said.
President of the Ocean Grove Football and Netball Club, Geoff Cunningham, said: “This is a fantastic announcement for the Ocean Grove community. It will benefit the sporting clubs of Ocean Grove and will deliver first class facilities equal to the best in the Geelong region.
“We have been talking about this project for some 20 years and are absolutely delighted with this commitment.”
Mark Rapa, President of Surfside Waves Soccer Club, said: “The current situation is desperate for our club. We’ve been operating out of two shipping containers.
“This is a very exciting announcement – it will benefit our kids and our grandkids.”
Mr Hawke was given a warm welcome from the football, netball and soccer clubs as well as Mayor John Mitchell, Cllr Jan Farrell and council CEO Stephen Griffin.
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