Eagles eye club upgrade

CLUBROOM OVERHAUL: Penola Football Netball Club president Marcus Devereux is hoping to gain enough funding to renovate the current facilities.

Charlotte Varcoe

WATTLE Range Council has encouraged community groups to engage with local government through deputations and meetings to help shape future budget priorities.

Among the most recent groups to present to council was Penola Football Netball Club, with president Marcus Devereux outlining the club’s desire to overhaul its changeroom facilities.

While council has formed its 2021/22 draft budget and business plan, which is currently open to public consultation, the deputation was welcomed by council with chief executive Ben Gower.

“Deputations help elected members with decision-making and what the needs of the community are,” Mr Gower said.

“We get a deputation every third meeting or so and with the draft budget now released, we will be holding a specific hour aside for deputations clearly coherent with the budget.”

Mr Gower said while some requests exceeded council’s ability to help, elected members were happy to steer organisations in the right direction.

Among the potential funding pathways for major projects, such as the Penola Football Netball Club upgrade, slated in the 2021/22 council budget is a $100,000 pool for community infrastructure grants.

Mr Devereux’s approach to council included a request for support to replace the downstairs changerooms at McCorquindale Park, which the club president said were built in the 1970’s and were in dire need of an upgrade to accommodate growth.

He said the upstairs section of the clubrooms also required improvements given this area is close to 30 years old and is regularly used.

Mr Devereux explained the club’s main focus was to ensure the future facilities catered for all users, including an increase in women’s football participation.

“We now have both genders out there in the region playing football and the local schools also use these facilities, which are now outdated,” Mr Devereux said.

“We have brainstormed a plan of what we wanted and how we are going to fund it and have been working on this for close to five years now.”

The club president said he felt buoyed following his council deputation, stating the club was heading in the right direction for the future of McCorquindale Park.

“We need council’s support on this because we are a small sporting club and can’t fund the complete project ourselves,” he said.

“We need to know whether we are able to get the funding so we can match dollar for dollar down the line and we are confident that we can get our $200,000 in place before December, provided we get funding from the council as well.”

Mr Devereux said the proposed upgrades would modernise the venue and improve its status as an events hub.

“It would open up avenues for other sporting and community bodies to come to Penola,” he said.

“Because we are so central to the South East, we are perfect to host events or meetings and this upgrade gives us better facilities to do so.”