Major boost for recreation and community facilities

The City of Melbourne will invest $19 million in capital works projects to improve community facilities over the coming year, including plans to revitalise sporting and recreational facilities, family services and children’s centres.

This year’s draft Annual Plan and Budget 2019-20 includes $1 million included towards planning and design works for a new Kensington Community Recreation Centre, which is expected to open in 2022.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood, and Chair of the People City portfolio, Councillor Beverley Pinder, today announced that the City of Melbourne plans to invest more than $120 million in community facilities over the next four years.

“The existing recreation centre building has served the Kensington community since 1976 and needs to be replaced. We will build a new state-of-the-art facility that meets the community’s needs while ensuring it remains affordable and accessible for all users,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.

“Plans for the new two-level facility include refurbishing the 25 metre pool to be fully accessible, adding a new pool deck and hall, wet and dry change facilities, multipurpose courts, larger gymnasium facilities, program and consulting rooms, a cafe and administration offices.”

The Acting Lord Mayor said the full $40 million redevelopment would be subject to approval by a future decision by Council.

“While this is a significant investment, we know that the average Australian visits a public aquatic facility 4.4 times a year, with the average aquatic facility creating $2.7 million a year in value to the community. The new facility is expected to achieve an operating surplus within its first year of operation,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.

People City portfolio, Councillor Beverley Pinder said the investment in planning for a new recreation centre recognises Council’s role in delivering quality community services for our growing city.

“Through our extensive community engagement, we’ve heard that the community wants a bigger and better centre that is environmentally sustainable, with more flexible spaces, improved change areas and parent facilities,” Councillor Pinder said.

The draft Budget includes $9.3 million to complete the redevelopment of Lady Huntingfield Children’s Centre and $1.8 million for the fit-out of the $70 million Munro development in the Queen Victoria Market precinct.

The Acting Lord Mayor said the draft Budget will also include $1.5 million towards upgrading pavilions at four ovals.

“We will invest $800,000 on designs for the renewal of the Brens, Ryder and Western Oval sporting pavilions in Royal Park, with construction expected to start in 2021. A further $750,000 will be spent to upgrade the Northern Sports Pavilion in Fawkner Park,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.

“We’re planning for more inclusive, comfortable, safe and fit-for-purpose facilities including upgraded change rooms and umpire facilities, improved lighting, kitchen areas, storage and social club spaces.”

“We have 375 community teams using our sporting facilities each week. This includes 90 teams made up of women and girls, which is phenomenal growth in just a few short years.

“We’re investing in women’s and community sport to diversify our facilities to encourage even more women and girls to take marks and hit sixes,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.  

University High School W Amateur Football Club player Jo Boyce said the women and girls are excited to have upgraded facilities. 

“To hear that our community sports pavilion will have female toilets, showers and change rooms is a dream come true. Having better facilities means we’ll be able to attract more players to our team and grow even stronger. The young girls of today will have a real pathway into AFLW now,” she said.

The draft Budget also includes $450,000 to help improve food handling at sporting clubs, $360,000 for renewing the Princes Hill tennis courts, and $210,000 for outdoor sports equipment.

Councillor Pinder, said other community services would also receive a funding boost, including funding for community meals, maternal and child health service, and Council’s response to homelessness.

“We will invest $154,000 in our community meals subsidy program to subsidise more than 30,000 community meals for older people over the coming year. We will also invest $58,000 in community grants for older people across the municipality. We will develop a dementia-friendly garden at Kensington Neighbourhood Centre and deliver carer support programs, including a program for LGBTI carers,” Cr Pinder said.

“We will continue to provide free maternal and child health services to support children’s health and development from birth until school age. Last year our maternal and child health nurses conducted 15,950 consultations, including weighing more than 4000 children and immunising 3000 children.”

“We will invest $1.9 million for homelessness services, including $438,000 for the Salvation Army’s Night Time Safe Place cafe, which opens from 11pm to 7am seven days a week.

“Melbourne City Mission will be allocated $480,000 for its youth homelessness services on King Street. The centre provides free all-day breakfast, shower facilities, toiletries, underwear and socks. Young people can see a doctor or a dentist, get legal advice, use computers and iPads, and talk to Centrelink.”

Public submissions on the draft Annual Plan and Budget 2019-20 are open from Friday 10 May, until Friday 7 June. Submissions will be considered at a special meeting of the Future Melbourne Committee on Thursday 13 June 2019. To have your say, visit participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au 

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