BASS Coast Community Stadium officially opened on Monday, giving Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association and the entire Bass Coast community a new home for sport in the region.
The three-court state-of-the-art stadium – located at the Wonthaggi Secondary College campus on McKenzie Street, Wonthaggi – will give all Wonthaggi basketballers a place to grow.
Members of the Andrews Victorian Government, Bass Coast Shire Council, Wonthaggi Secondary College, the association and all the other stakeholders were thrilled to have an elite venue on their doorstep ready for use.
Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale MP and Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Brett Tessari officially opened the venue on Monday afternoon with plenty of junior participants soon after competing in the inaugural games at the stadium.
“This is brilliant – you just have to look at the backdrop to see just how impressive this facility is,” Crugnale said. “Three courts, competition grade and it means the basketball association, the Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association have a home and it’s co-located at the school and it’s a community facility.
“It’s a brilliant partnership with the school and the community and the Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association – it’s not just for basketball, it’s for any sport played indoors – and it strengthens the partnership between school and community and it’s a community asset and we’re so pleased with how marvellous it is.
“The Andrews Labor Government put in $31m to build a school and we want to have shared community facilities at schools as that’s where people congregate and that’s where the hubs are for our communities.
“We join the two – the school and the shared facilities – together and it becomes a used asset all through the weekend and the week as well.”
Bass Coast Shire Mayor Brett Tessari said the development is a boon to the region, especially with the school-community partnership set to give more access to more individuals.
“To be a resident of Wonthaggi for 50 years and to see where basketball has come from to where it is now I’m just rapt,” Tessari said. “It means a lot; it means our basketball association can grow, it means we can have kids everywhere all over the three courts and the association can now supply all kinds of basketball, from old-timers like myself down to the eight-year olds out there now.
“Bass Coast Shire Council are incredibly proud to have this facility for the whole of the community – it’ll not only benefit Wonthaggi, but benefit the whole of the shire and will bring our basketball competitions, that our associations travel all over the state to, here to Bass Coast and it’s a massive opportunity for our shire.
“To have the Wonthaggi Secondary College in conjunction with the Bass Coast Shire to bring this community stadium to the whole of the shire is massive -we’ve got basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton – and it’s also a community hall. It’s an opportunity that sees our shire bring it up the standards we always should’ve had and we can have kids running around in all-weather playing all kinds of sports and it’s fantastic.”
Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association tipped off the special occasion with its Monday night domestic boys taking the first tip off at the new venue.
The $6.2 million project was made possible through a $3 million grant from the Victorian State Government’s Shared Facilities Fund as well as significant funding contributions from Sport and Recreation Victoria ($1.5 million) and Bass Coast Shire Council ($1.7 million).
Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association president Cath Garnham said the opening was like Christmas for the Coasters with the growth opportunities giving the association plenty to look forward to in 2020 and beyond.
“It’s amazing to have something like this; to come from a one court stadium to have this amazing three-court stadium here is fantastic,” Garnham said. “We’re super excited moving forward to have as many kids as possible here.
“For us here at Wonthaggi Basketball our registrations have gone up 25 per cent from last season which is huge. “We are going to run programs for our younger kids, older people for men for women, we’re looking to have walking basketball during the day, we’re looking to have an all abilities program of a Thursday.
“We’re going to be able to run as many programs as we can – Skills days, up skilling our coaches and referees – and we’re super excited.
“The anticipation has been huge – as you can see tonight you get in here and it’s like Christmas.
“They’ve been waiting a long time for this, they’ve come and seen it being built for the last two years and to have this day finally come, they’re besides themselves with excitement.”
Combining the different levels of government and creating the co-use venue shared between Wonthaggi Secondary College and Wonthaggi Amateur Basketball Association will ensure the community and school alike have an elite facility ready to aid future South Gippsland basketball stars.
The three court community stadium also features new administration spaces, change areas, meeting rooms, a first aid room and kiosk as well as seating for 500 spectators and an ability to feature games of all standards with its high quality fixtures and finishing catering to junior games all the way through to elite senior basketball.
For further information on the venue, visit the Bass Coast Shire Council website.