Plans to meet basketball needs

Picture: Yanni

Picture: Yanni

FRANKSTON Council has endorsed a $20-$25 million plan to provide adequate basketball facilities through to 2031.

A report to council last week outlined ways to upgrade and expand the city’s indoor basketball facilities, focusing on a staged development of Frankston Basketball Association’s stadium in Bardia Ave, Seaford.

Officers have been asked to develop schematic plans for the improved facilities and to report back by December.

They will undertake a funding advocacy campaign to identify potential grants from state and federal governments and other potential partners.

The council has assigned $500,000 in next year’s budget towards the project.

The full cost of redeveloping the Bardia Ave site in three stages is tipped to be $20-$25 million.

Stage 1: $13 million – build two courts, including a show court with retractable seating and supporting amenities (change, referees, first-aid rooms), foyer, administration areas, cafe, store rooms and car park extension.

Stage 2: $4.5 million-$7.1 million – build two courts, replace the existing three sports pavilions with a new multi-use sporting pavilion for Kananook Sports Club, Southern Umpires Association and Frankston & District Junior Football League.

Stage 3: $4.5 million-$5.3 million – build two courts and cater to the requirements of a regional table tennis/multi-sport facility.

Experts say it is more economical to update and expand existing infrastructure than build on a new site.

The Bardia Ave centre has six courts, including a show court for 500-600 spectators. It has change rooms and amenities, administration area, car parking for 173 spaces and bus drop off zone.

But the facilities are now “at capacity”, according to the mayor, Cr Darrel Taylor, “and we are often seeing games scheduled for 11pm some nights just to get through the required number of games”.

“As a regional city we should be able to cater to the demand.”

Cr Taylor said as well as having a huge local requirement for modern facilities, Frankston was a sporting hub for participants from surrounding areas “and as a result we are at breaking point”.

The problem will be exacerbated by a growing population – tipped to grow from 132,000 to 144,900 by 2021 – and more players – up from 7000 to 7770 players in the same time frame. Participation rates are tipped to rise to 8000-9000 players by 2031.

There are significantly more junior players (62 per cent) than senior players (38 per cent).

Court requirements now are, in reality, 14, but this is expected to grow to 15/16 courts by 2021 and 16/17 by 2031. This is based on the continuing availability for community use of three courts at Elisabeth Murdoch Secondary College and another three at Patterson River Secondary College. If not, an extra 10 to 11 courts would be required, the officers said.

The figures do not include participation rates for netball, table tennis, volleyball or futsal – and so don’t anticipate potential demand for total indoor courts to meet current and future needs.

It is understood that growing netball requirements, too, will be addressed as part of the proposed expansion. Volleyball and table tennis could also potentially be played in a larger basketball centre depending on the number of courts available.

The decision to back the officers’ recommendation comes after a three month study into basketball participation rates. “It’s a solid ask,” Cr James Dooley said. “Now we have to work out a way to make it happen.”

Added impetus for the new courts comes from having a large proportion of the population in their most active years. More than half (61 per cent) are below 44 years old. Also, opportunities to attract more regional and country events or tournaments would provide economic benefits through increased demand for accommodation, food and beverages.

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