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    Horsham Rural City Council councillor Di Bell.

New probe into Horsham multisport precinct plan

By Dean Lawson

Development of a Wimmera Regional Multi-Sport Precinct including a new indoor stadium in Horsham is back on the table.

Horsham Rural City Council voted at a meeting on Monday night to receive a scoping report for a new feasibility study to consider a preferred location.

The move comes on the back of council endorsement of a City to River Masterplan in 2019 that included a call for an independent study on the issue.



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The council secured $30,000 in Sport and Recreation Victoria funding for the $60,000 study cost and matched it as part of a 2020-2021 budget.

The project is due for completion by January 31, 2022.

The council heard the study would use previous council studies and unlike the past would explore a precinct that would include outdoor as well as indoor sporting needs.

Similar to a previous indoor-
sport stadium study, the process would involve assessing sites across multiple locations, including a McBryde Street-
Horsham Showground Crown land area and a greenfield Jenkinson Avenue site in Horsham west.

The council heard that Sport and Recreation Victoria would only consider funding the project if planning involved both indoor and outdoor facilities.

Cr Di Bell spoke passionately about the project and a ‘need to get it right’.

“This study is about finding the absolute best opportunity and location for this to take sport further forward in our region,” she said.

Cr Bell gained support to consolidate a motion to receive and note the report scope by incorporating 2019 council direction to ensure the study ‘started with a clean slate’, a direction which prompted an approach for government funding support. She said it was imperative the study worked to reflect the needs and wants of the broader Horsham community and its organisations while covering off on key social and technical issues.

Objectives

The objectives of the feasibility study will be to: Identify the function requirements of an outdoor regional multi-sport precinct in association with a proposed Wimmera Indoor Sports Stadium; and determine the feasibility of an outdoor multi-sports precinct that can meet the needs of users and provide a facility that can cater for regional sporting activities; determine the most suitable location for an outdoor multi-sport precinct with consideration of co-location options with a proposed indoor stadium.

Planning will involve reviewing and considering all previous community consultation and documentation and a variety of reports and studies. The process involves establishing a project control group to act as a steering committee responsible for ensuring project outcomes, budget, time and quality criteria are met.

Working and reference groups will provide information to the control group and a project consultant will develop the overall plan.

A Community Stakeholder Engagement Plan involving ‘intensive’ engagement with key project stakeholders is also a priority. 

Various councillors spoke of the benefits of developing a new sporting precinct.

The site of a multi-purpose sports stadium in Horsham was the subject of considerable debate.

The council settled on the showgrounds for the stadium but the debate opened questions about a broader precinct concept.

The entire April 28, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser and AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!