WORK on a new synthetic pitch has begun at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale.
The first sod was officially turned on the project, stage 2a of the GRSC, on Thursday.
The project has been funded by the John Leslie Foundation ($1 million), Wellington Shire Council ($750,130), the state government ($650,000), federal government ($600,000) and East Gippsland Hockey Association ($50,000).
Wellington Shire mayor Carolyn Crossley said the pitch would be welcomed by local hockey players, who have had to endure muddy grass fields during winter.
“The Gippsland Regional Sports Complex already offers the community a wealth of sporting activities such as netball, basketball, indoor soccer, volleyball and table tennis,” she said.
“The upgrade to a synthetic multi-purpose field and pavilion will take the facility to the next level of local sporting infrastructure and council is delighted to be able to deliver this project on behalf of all of the funding partners.
“It is great to see the works finally getting underway and we can’t wait to see the field in use by hockey groups and the broader community.”
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the improved sporting complex would attract more regional events to Gippsland, and improve the playing surface for local clubs.
“The new multipurpose synthetic field will be ideal for a number of sports including hockey and soccer, providing the region with an all-purpose wet weather training venue,” he said.
“The project will also include outdoor lighting, a new sports pavilion, additional car park spacing and an active play space.
“I look forward to seeing the final stages of the entire redevelopment unfold, improving the sporting facilities in Gippsland to a world class standard.
“This is another great example of all levels of government working with the community to provide better sport facilities in our community.”
Eastern Victoria MLC Harriet Shing said the new field would provide the opportunity for the EGHA to expand its competition.
“It was a great honour join the late John Leslie last year to announce the Victorian government’s $650,000 contribution to this complex, and it’s wonderful to see it now coming to life,” she said.