The City of Ballarat is seeking support from the Victorian and Australian Governments to ensure one of Ballarat’s most loved community facilities continues to thrive for decades to come.
Eastwood Leisure Complex in Ballarat Central has been a community gathering place for Ballarat residents for almost 80 years and was originally known as the Ballarat Youth Centre.
City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said today Eastwood remains as popular as ever, with more than 100 groups ranging from the University of the Third Age to Ballarat Wildcats Basketball Club running programs at the site.
“This is one of our busiest community facilities. Each year 60,000 users of all ages and from diverse backgrounds take part in activities across 14,000 programmed hours,” he said.
While Eastwood is bustling with activity throughout the year, the original part of the building has been on the site since the 1940s and along with more recent extensions is reaching the end of its useful life.
“The reality is the layout is dated, inflexible and is not coping with increasing user numbers and changing community expectations,” Cr Moloney said.
“We want to make sure people who come here for a class or a meeting can keep doing that for years to come.
“That’s why we’ve worked extensively with user groups to develop a design for a new Eastwood Community Hub.”
The new hub will be universally accessible and include flexible meeting spaces, a medium-sized conference or community space, and improved participation opportunities for women and girls through access to female-friendly facilities.
The facility will be shared by the more than 100 user groups already on the site and will also provide a new home for the Ballarat City Senior Citizens Club.
Concept designs for the Eastwood Community Hub can be seen in the Spring edition of ourballarat magazine (online version).
The City of Ballarat is seeking a $13.7 million investment from the Victorian and Australian Governments to bring the plans to fruition.
City of Ballarat Director Community Wellbeing Matthew Wilson said rigorous engagement with user groups has been key to developing the designs for the new hub to make sure it fits their needs.
“Our Engaged Communities team led by Executive Manager Pete Appleton has worked extensively with stakeholders through three phases of concept planning to ensure a solid, planned and supported process,” he said.
Mr Wilson said the Eastwood Community Hub Project has also been identified as a high priority in the City of Ballarat of Ballarat’s Community Infrastructure Plan 2022 – 2037.
Adopted by City of Ballarat Council in July 2022, the key strategic document provides an evidence-based plan for the delivery of community infrastructure in Ballarat during the next 15 years.
Cr Moloney said building a new Eastwood Community Hub will have benefits for a broad cross section of our community.
“This is a perfect project for investment from other levels of government,” he said.
“Building on a rich tradition of community activity at this site, the development of a new facility will mean Eastwood will continue as a thriving meeting place for Ballarat people from all walks of life for generations to come.”
The Eastwood complex is located at Eastwood Street, Ballarat Central, opposite the Ballarat Central supermarkets.