Works have officially commenced at Lord Nelson Park Multipurpose Sporting Facility in St Arnaud after Northern Grampians Shire Council (NGSC) conducted a sod turning ceremony on Monday. Kara Kara Ward councillor Tony Driscoll and Federal Government Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster MP presided over the ceremony held at 2.30pm on the former grounds of the now demolished Tote building.
The ceremony which commenced with Cr Driscoll saying an Acknowledgement of Country, was witnessed by project stakeholders and community members including the St Arnaud Recreation Advisory Group, MKM Construction staff, councillors and council staff.
The $3.9 million sporting facility project has received funding from multiple sources including:
$700,000 from the Victorian Government Sport and Recreation Victoria Local Sports Grant
$500,000 from the Federal Government Sports Australia Community Sports Infrastructure Grant
$100,000 from the AFL Key Communities Facilities Fund
Council has committed to supplying the balance for the facility project of $2.6 million. The St Arnaud community is making a significant contribution of $150,000 to the landscaping and enhancing the new facility surrounds.
On completion, the building will provide St Arnaud residents and visitors with a multipurpose facility for sports and community events equipped with various indoor and outdoor spaces, all abilities and female friendly amenities and commercial grade catering capabilities.
Federal Member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster said the new venue will address a lack of female facilities at Lord Nelson Park and encourage increased participation in a range of sports.
“Lord Nelson Park is regarded as one of the main sporting venues in the North Central Region of Victoria and is home to sports including football, netball, harness racing, hockey and cricket,” Dr Webster said.
“The park also hosts the St Arnaud Agricultural Show. However, the existing facilities are somewhat dilapidated now and no longer fit for purpose, so I’m pleased to see work begin on what I know will be a well-utilised venue, and a wonderful community asset.”
Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the facilities will encourage greater female participation by providing a safe and welcoming environment.
“The Morrison Government’s $100 million Community Sport Infrastructure grant program is a valuable investment in building community spirit and pride.
“This program is not just about building better sporting facilities, it is about building stronger, healthier communities by promoting physical activity, social connection, and economic vitality.
“This venue will also be a valuable sporting hub for schools and community groups to use for cross country events, fun runs as well as boot camp and fitness sessions, and complements the recently opened North Park Multipurpose Clubroom located in neighbouring Stawell.”
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Cr Murray Emerson, expressed his gratitude to all the funding bodies that contributed to the project and have made it possible to achieve the community’s vision.
“This is a massive journey,” he said. “We’re coming from what have been described as the worst change facilities in the state, not our words, but those of the AFL.
“For our community the time has come to reach the next exciting phase.
“We’ve had a lot of community input across the years on this project including the current advisory committee and all of the user groups who have worked hard to pull this project together; this is a community precinct for all.”