AFL Barwon joins Mayor in calling for commonwealth games funds redirect
CITY OF GREATER Geelong Mayor Trent Sullivan has written to Premier Jacinta Allan to request she redirect Commonwealth Games legacy funding from a proposed new learn-to-swim pool at Armstrong Creek to a new regional indoor sports and events centre.
Cr Sullivan said the larger indoor complex would cater to rising participation in basketball and netball.
“Council must make decisions that are in the interests of all community members and taking on an additional swimming pool that is not needed is financially irresponsible,” Mayor Sullivan wrote in the letter to the Premier.
“It puts an unnecessary financial burden on current and future rate payers.”
At the dizzying heights of Commonwealth Games planning, three Olympic-sized pools were to be built at Armstrong Creek.
The Games were cancelled in July this year after the state government said projected costs had blown out from $2.6 to $7 billion.
The Victorian government said at the time that they were still going ahead with $2 billion worth of legacy projects, which included a 25 metre pool at Armstrong Creek.
“We request the State Government work with community and Council to deliver on the long-term aspiration for a Regional Indoor Sports and Events Centre, similar to what is currently available in other regional Cities such as Bendigo and Ballarat,” Cr Sullivan wrote.
“The July 2022 Aquatic Demand Analysis that was funded by the Victorian Government determined that there wasn’t demand for another aquatic and leisure centre in Armstrong Creek.”
This is due to the close proximities to other existing or planned facilities, including three facilities within 15 km of the proposed site (Kardinia, Waurn Ponds, Moolap), two facilities within 20 km of the site (Ocean Grove, and Norlane) and one additional site (Drysdale).
Further, the Surf Coast Shire is delivering a $46 million Aquatic and Health Centre that will service the Armstrong Creek Community.
Cr Sullivan said there are over 8500 registered basketballers in Geelong and 11,500 in the G21 region. Approximately 10 per cent of the population of the region participate in either netball or basketball and both sports are growing.
Lending further support to this push, AFL Barwon has backed the need for enhanced netball infrastructure in the region.
In a statement, AFL Barwon expressed its unanimous support for Mayor Sullivan’s letter.
“The future of netball in our community is being severely hampered by the lack of facility infrastructure growth to meet the exponential growth in the Barwon Region,” the statement said.
“We look forward to supporting any progressive conversations surrounding netball infrastructure enhancements in the future to benefit our community.”
A Victorian Government spokesperson acknowledged receiving Mayor Sullivan’s letter, stating, “we received the letter and will work with communities across the state to deliver new and upgraded sporting facilities to regional Victoria”.
“We’ll continue to consult with councils but won’t run those consultations through the media,” the spokesperson said.
First published on 7 December 2023 as “Mayor Sullivan tells Allan Government to redirect commonwealth games funds to new sports centre.” Story updated 15 December 2023.