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12 January 2022
By DEAN LAWSON
A prominent municipal leader believes the success of a major inter-regional tennis tournament in Horsham has provided a snapshot of why the city must develop its sporting and cultural facilities.
Horsham Mayor Robyn Gulline said events such as Tennis Victoria’s Inter-regional Country Championships at the weekend, as well as providing important economic stimulus in the centre, promoted the liveability of the region.
Cr Gulline said the tournament, which attracted competitors and their families and supporters from across the state, was ‘fantastic’.
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She said the impression on visitors at the three-day event at Horsham’s lawn courts was invaluable.
“It really gave great insight into why we need to raise the standard of facilities,” she said.
“If we raise the bar in what we can offer, we not only raise the standard of what we present locally, we also open our capacity to attract visitors lured by high standards.
“These types of high-profile and high-quality events go well beyond simply being sporting or cultural occasions. They are huge economic stimulators.
“People from outside the region come here, they stay and spend money. They also get to experience life here, what we offer – generally have a positive experience in our region – and can see the benefits of coming back or looking for jobs here.
“The championships were a fantastic event – its 20 years since they have been in Horsham – and everyone was absolutely delighted with participation levels. The courts were in magnificent condition.
“There was such a happy, friendly crowd. I was hearing comments from different people while watching the finals and they had a great experience, which had changed their outlook and perception of our region.
“Kudos to the Horsham Lawn Tennis Club committee. They hosted a magnificent event.”
Horsham Junior Country Week Cricket and a major 8-ball pool event also drew players and supporters from across Victoria to the Wimmera at the weekend.
Cr Gulline’s comments came amid Horsham Rural City Council exploration into funding a multi-million-dollar overhaul of Horsham’s flagship Horsham City Oval and Sawyer Park sporting and entertainment precinct. The precinct is adjacent to Horsham Botanic Gardens and lawn tennis and croquet courts and near a $2.4-million natural play park, which is under construction.
Plans are for a $17-million staged precinct overhaul to lift ageing assets to modern standards and open opportunities.
Cr Gulline said being able to stage high-level sporting, cultural and performing-arts events was important to many people.
“In lifting the standards of what we offer, we lift the standards of local activity and engagement and in turn make the region as attractive as possible,” she said.
“It is all built into promoting the liveability of our municipality.
“I’m talking about all sporting and major events that attract people to the Wimmera. We have the cricket, the go-karts, motorcycles, speedway, cycling events, hockey, swimming and so on.
“When you raise the standard of facilities, locals compete at better levels and develop greater skills that lift the bar and everyone. This applies to all sports and activities – cultural as well as sporting and really what we’re trying to do is help everyone reach their potential.”
Cr Gulline said the tennis tournament provided a snapshot of what Horsham and the region could do as communities looked beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to start living again and to seize our opportunities. This event points us towards a brighter future,” she said.
The entire January 12, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!