WELLINGTON Shire Council has approved a contract to replace the indoor court surfaces at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale with timber.
The current synthetic playing surface on the four indoor courts will be replaced with a sprung timber floor.
Council is spending $835,000 on the project, with $500,000 of that coming from the John Leslie Foundation.
This will be busy year of works at GRSC, where construction is already underway for a synthetic hockey pitch and pavillion.
When the original surface was selected, the focus was on enabling multi-purpose, multi-use activity. While the synthetic surface has been satisfactory for the range of activities currently held at the centre, it falls below the design standard specified for high level basketball competition.
The surface has long been a point of concern for local basketballers, with some claiming it has contributed to an increase in the number of injuries.
The new flooring will be rated to a minimum level two certification under international basketball federation standards.
Deputy mayor Ian Bye said the project would be a major boost for local sport.
“We’ve already got a great complex in the GRSC and it’s about to get even better, going from a synthetic to a timber floor,” he said.
“The timber floor will last up to 80 years and will enable professional teams to come down from Melbourne and even overseas.
“I’d like to thank the John Leslie Foundation for contributing to this project, by working together we will be able to attract major competitions to venture further than the Latrobe Valley and use the GRSC.”
The Sale Amateur Basketball Association is hoping the new floor will help attract regional events to GRSC.
This weekend, SABA will host its annual tournament.
A thousand junior basketballers, plus their families, are expected to converge on Sale for the event.
Moving the date of the tournament from the Queen’s Birthday weekend to late February has doubled the number of junior team entries to 110 across under 10 to under 19 age groups.
The change was made in the hope of attracting teams from major centres such as Ballarat and Bendigo in the lead-up to the country championships.
The bulk of matches will be played at GRSC, with action also at Bishop Phelan Stadium in the Catholic College Sale St Patrick’s Campus, Sale College’s Macalister and Guthridge campuses and the Cameron Sporting Complex in Maffra.
Matches will be played from 8am Saturday and Sunday, with finals Sunday night.
Entry will be free for spectators.