Game on: East Point Dragons Ginger Howard, Millie Walters, Keisha Darroch and Evie Howard get out on to White Flat Rec Reserve, cheered on by Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison and City of Ballarat mayor Cr Ben Taylor. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

Lights, cameras and one day action

September 10, 2020 BY

SECURITY and lighting upgrades to the football oval at White Flat Recreation Reserve, just outside Ballarat’s CBD beside the Yarrowee River, are now complete.

The just under $188,000 worth of upgrades from the State’s Public Safety Infrastructure Fund saw five CCTV cameras installed and new light towers added.

Although the ground is just minutes from downtown Ballarat, it’s hoped the works help make things safer for the reserve’s key tenants the East Point Dragons women’s football team.

“It means a lot more security for the girls,” said team coordinator Nichole Walters. “We’re quite isolated down here, even though we are in the middle of town.

“It’s nice to have the lights and the CCTV. It makes a difference to know the girls are safe while they train.”

Currently fielding four teams, the lighting upgrades will allow the Dragons to train more often and for longer, it also means the club could potentially host night matches under lights.

The ultimate outcome is the East Point women’s facilities are slowing getting closer to those of the men’s sides, who play at Eastern Oval.

“We’ve got four full teams overall, so trying to spread those girls out over the week can be a challenge,” said Ms Walters. “Now we can run longer as without the lights nights come early.

“We can train more nights and hopefully we can field more teams.

“What was here before was not female friendly at all. To have these brand-new facilities just means a good step forward for the female members of the football club.”

It wasn’t just lighting and security upgrades that took place at the White Flat, the space has also received landscaping and outdoor furniture.

Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison said the capital works had many positive benefits.

“This has been a community led investment in this important sporting facility,” she said. “We heard from the community that is wasn’t safe here. People were coming down here doing burnouts, there was anti-social behaviour.

“The police then did a safety audit of the area and identified some important changes to improve safety.

“What we know is there’s architectural things that you can implement to change an environment which improves behaviour. We now have new pathways, new benches, new landscaping. We’ve made this a much nicer place.”

In addition to the State Government money, the City of Ballarat put in $26,000 worth of equipment and in-kind support.

Mayor Cr Ben Taylor said with the upgrades he hoped more people would discover and use White Flat Recreation Reserve.

“This in an area that’s always been a bit of a concern for people, especially at night time,” he said.

“Having the additional lights, the security and even the pathways, it really opens it up and makes it more inviting to people to come down and use the facility we have, which is an awesome space in middle of the city.”