A petition demanding the Victorian Government invest in an urgent upgrade of Seymour’s Kings Park has been launched.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan used the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo at the weekend as the vehicle to demonstrate the value of the Kings Park precinct to the town and the region.
More than 22000 people went through the expo gates between Friday and Sunday and the complex is also home to the Seymour football and netball clubs and the Seymour Show.
Seymour Football/Netball Club secretary Gary Brown said one look into the rooms was enough to see why they need some work done.
‘‘There haven’t been any upgrades on the Seymour community centre football rooms for probably 14 seasons — it’s well overdue,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve done our fair share of begging, and I think now it’s just time for it to get done — let’s give Seymour a new facelift in the community, because that’s what the rooms were built for originally back in 1974.’’
SNFC president Craig Velt said the club’s bathroom facilities were ‘‘embarrassing’’ and that launching a Seymour women’s football side was impossible until there was a major upgrade.
‘‘We can’t even contemplate women’s football until there’s a remodel, with a little bit more privacy available,’’ he said.
‘‘The carpet we’ve got in the rooms is from Moonee Valley raceway, underneath that is the 40-year-old tiles from when the building first went up — we can’t afford to replace that.
‘‘We do have a building fund and have got some money in there but we’ve just committed to the netball facilities, so any money leftover is simply not enough to be able to do substantive work.
‘‘We throw a slap of paint around here and there but we don’t have money for any significant change-making activities in the building. All we can do is tickle at the edges and maintain the door locks and things like that,’’ Mr Velt said.
His daughter, Georgia Velt, who plays netball for SNFC, said there were already problems integrating the netballers and the footballers.
‘‘When the girls want to come and have an ice bath after the game, we’ve got to walk through the boys urinals to get there,’’ she said.
‘‘So it’s a little awkward and it’s not a really nice place to come when you want to cool down.’’
But the need for some renewal goes beyond just the football clubs rooms, according to Ken Hall, who is a committee member of both Eastern Hill Cricket Club and Kings Park.
‘‘The cricket nets in Kings Park are in a sad state. They need new carpets and new wiring on the netting,’’ he said.
‘‘We also want to get all our road networks sealed to keep the dust down and make it better for exhibitions such as Seymour Expo.
‘‘And we need a major power upgrade in some areas, because shows like this have got to bring in so many generators, it’s a huge process and awkward to do all the time.’’
Ms Ryan said she was pushing for funding ahead of this year’s budget to upgrade the complex, including facilities for the Seymour Football Netball Club, Little Athletics, works to the Ken Hall Pavilion and Eastern Hill Cricket Club rooms as well as upgrades to playgroup facilities.
‘‘Kings Park is an important asset to Seymour,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘It is used year round by sporting and community groups and is home to the Seymour Lions Football Netball Club, St Mary’s Junior Football Club, Seymour Juniors, Seymour Girl Guides, Little Athletics, Eastern Hill Cricket Club, Seymour Playgroup, Seymour Darts Association, Seymour Playgroup and Seymour FM among others.
‘‘It’s also a drawcard for events like Seymour Expo and Seymour Agricultural Show, which bring people and money to town.
‘‘That’s why at the 2014 state election I committed $600000 for a full upgrade of Kings Park including football clubrooms, the playgroup area and roads, fences and parking around the grounds.
‘‘I was disappointed Labor scrapped the funding when it was elected to government but I’ll continue to fight for this upgrade until it is funded.’’
However, Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the Victorian Government has been working closely with the Mitchell Shire Council in the past two years to upgrade facilities at Kings Park.
Ms Symes said the SNFC received funding from both the Victorian Government and council in projects for new netball facilities and a second netball court.
‘‘This is just the local Member playing catch-up on conversations that my office, council and I have been heavily engaged in about the priorities for Kings Park,’’ Ms Symes said.
‘‘The Nationals Members do it quite regularly — they find out I’m onto something and they put together a petition so they can try to make themselves look relevant; that they’re bringing about some kind of investment, whereas I’m just going about doing my job, talking to people, and lining up funding opportunities.
‘‘With the football/netball club, we’ve got the new court going in and the new club rooms with better women’s facilities — that’s something we funded last year and it’s all under way.’’
Mitchell Shire mayor Rhonda Sanderson said Kings Park was managed by a committee of representatives from all user groups and the community. Cr Sanderson said council and the committee developed a master plan for the site, as well as a plan setting out the Committee’s priority projects to improve the facility.
‘‘Council has been working hard to secure funding to progressively roll out these projects in accordance with the agreed plan,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘We have successfully secured funding for the first two priority projects — a second netball court and new netball change rooms, and work on both these facilities is under way.’’
Cr Sanderson said the $402000 netball change rooms were jointly funded by council ($252000) and the Victorian Government ($100000), as well as the football/netball clubs and the netball association ($50000).
She also said the $151000 netball court with lighting was funded by the Victorian Government ($85550) and council ($65450).
‘‘We’re now working hard with the Agricultural Society and committee of management to secure funding for the next priority project, a new integrated agricultural pavilion to replace two aged agricultural pavilions,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘Council is committed to proving quality recreational and cultural facilities for our community, and a key to doing this is forming great partnerships with the Victorian Government and user groups, as we can’t deliver these projects alone.
‘‘We will continue to pursue funding opportunities to roll out the rest of these projects at Kings Park as quickly as possible.’’