Mildura Rural City Councillors this month endorsed changes to funding allocations for Stage 1 of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct (MSRSP).
The changes were largely due to the unexpected complexity of in-ground preparation works, which are now almost complete.
Capital Works funding set aside for drainage infrastructure supporting both the MSRSP and growth in the surrounding area has now been allocated to Stage 1 of the precinct.
This drainage infrastructure can be completed in stages based on the rate of development in the area, allowing for the reallocation of $1.6 million to Stage 1 of the MSRSP.
The changes bring Council’s commitment to the MSRSP to $11.1 million, and the total cost of Stage 1 to $31.6 million.
In addition to Council’s commitment, the first stage of the MSRSP is funded by $17.5 million in Australian Government Building Better Regions funding, and $3 million in Victorian Government Better Indoor Stadiums funding.
The MSRSP is part of Council’s Mildura Future Ready advocacy and funding strategy, created to attract major investment for infrastructure projects that drive jobs and growth in our region.
It currently comprises four projects – the MSRSP, the Mildura Motorsports and Community Precinct, Stage 2 of the riverfront redevelopment, and advocacy for passenger rail services in our region.
In terms of the MSRSP, Mildura Future Ready has now attracted more than $20 million in government funding.
Councillor for Recreation and Sport Glenn Milne said the additional complexity of in-ground site works was mainly due to the long-term previous use of the land for irrigated horticulture.
“With a project of this scale and complexity, there are always going to be unexpected items, and this unpredictability is generally below ground,” Cr Milne said.
“Due to the condition of the site, and the critical need to ensure the foundation works properly support such a large infrastructure project, additional work was required.
“This included safely removing asbestos and significant tile drainage associated with disused irrigation infrastructure and associated ground conditions.
“These works have been completed and we’re now at the exciting stage of seeing the project develop above ground, with the structure of the stadium really beginning to take shape.”
Cr Milne said the reallocation of Council funds would also provide an opportunity to future-proof in-ground services to accommodate the additional scope of the MSRSP.
A small example is carrying out in-ground ‘service runs’ now, which would allow for increased electrical cabling for outdoor netball and cricket ground lighting, and lighting upgrades for the main oval car parking area, which are all part of Stage 2.
Stage 1 of the project will see the delivery of:
- six-court multiuse stadium including foyer and administration area, café, kiosk and first floor function room and social room
- AFL-standard main oval
- cricket turf wicket on the main oval
- standalone pavilion.
Council is advocating strongly for a $10 million Victorian Government Budget allocation to fund Stage 2 of the MSRSP.
Stage 2 includes:
- outdoor netball courts
- outdoor beach volleyball
- synthetic and turf wickets for cricket
- sports hub administration on the stadium first floor
- additional parking
- squash courts and umpire viewing
- additional ground floor change rooms and social space
- upgraded lighting for main oval
- second multipurpose oval with associated lighting.
In addition, Council continues to actively seek other avenues of government funding from all levels, including two current applications for Victorian Government funding through the Local Sports Infrastructure Fund.
The first is for $250,000 to match a $275,000 pledge by Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia earlier this year. If successful this money would be used to develop synthetic and turf training facilities and install world-class lighting to support the future of cricket at the MSRSP.
The most recent application is for $500,000 to match a $365,000 commitment by the Mildura Netball Association, Sunraysia Football Netball League and South Mildura Sporting Club. This funding would allow the establishment of outdoor netball courts and associated lighting at the MSRSP.
“Ultimately, the benefits of this precinct in terms of economic stimulus and jobs, which are already being realised amid the COVID-19 pandemic, will be felt across our region,” Cr Milne said.
“Despite job losses in other sectors due to the pandemic, this project is delivering on its objectives by creating a significant amount of work and jobs for the local construction industry.
“Wherever possible we’ve attempted to ensure local contractors are used, which has resulted in more than 50 percent locally based. And where this hasn’t been possible due to the lack of availability locally, visiting tradespeople are living and spending in the district during their time here. To date, this project has generated more than 9000 man-hours of employment.”
Once completed the MSRSP is expected to inject an estimated $77.5 million into the local economy and create 219 jobs during construction and 10 jobs during operation.