New hockey pitch hopes for Sale

A CONCEPT design for a synthetic hockey pitch and pavilion at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex has been released.

Wellington Shire Council endorsed the design and funding model to develop the $2.986 million facility as part of the next stage of the GRSC in Sale.

However, progress on the project is dependent on council securing $650,000 from the state government.

East Gippsland Hockey Association, of  which the Sale, Wellington and Maffra clubs are members, is one of only two hockey associations in the state without  synthetic pitches.

Local matches are currently played on grass fields, which can deteriorate during winter.

The lack of synthetic pitches locally has forced players to travel elsewhere to play at better standard facilities.

In Gippsland, synthetic pitches are located at Churchill and Drouin.

According to the concept plan, the proposed GRSC pitch would be established on vacant land to the west of the outdoor netball courts.

The pitch also has been earmarked to be used for junior soccer.

The pavilion and training area would be situated on the western side of the pitch, while there are plans for a new adventure playground to be placed to the east of the pitch.

The design also includes new car parking on the western edge of the site.

The 55 metre long pavilion includes male and female change rooms, social and meeting rooms, a kiosk and an undercover outdoor area for spectators.

There will be fencing, measuring up to six metres tall, behind both goals, as well as six light towers around the pitch.

Vacant land to the south of the new facility has been labelled “future southern sports fields”.

Council will contribute $1.286 million, plus there will be a $1 million benefactor contribution and $50,000 from clubs and the community.

Council will apply for $650,000 in state government funding through the Community Sports Infrastructure Fund.

Wellington Shire councillor Darren McCubbin said facilities such as a new synthetic pitch helped encourage people to remain or move to the shire.

“It’s very important that those people who look at Wellington as a place to live have a range of world class facilities they can utilise.

“We are so blessed that we have things like the entertainment centre, Aqua Energy and now the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex.”

Cr McCubbin hoped the state government would see the value in contributing to the project.

“The excitement that we share is hopefully going to be picked up by the state government and they’re going to fund us accordingly,” he said.