$5.67-million upgrade for Colac stadium

Pictured outside Colac's Bluewater Fitness Centre are, from left, Colac Basketball Association president Paul Walters, Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty, Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder, Member for Corangamite Darren Cheeseman, basketball treasurer Peter Lemke and Colac Otway Shire mayor Stephen Hart.

A $5.67-MILLION upgrade of Colac’s Bluewater Fitness Centre can finally go ahead.

The Liberal State Government yesterday announced the final pieces of the funding puzzle to redevelop the centre, ensuring every element of the project would go ahead.

Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty joined Member for Polwarth Terry Mulder in announcing $1.15 million for the Hearn Street centre, built in 1976.

As part of the redevelopment, Bluewater’s two undersized basketball courts will become three full-sized courts, with one being a state-of-the-art show court.

The extra funding consists of $650,000 from Sport and Recreation Victoria and $500,000 from the Department of Planning and Community Development.

The Labor Federal Government had set the ball rolling in 2010 with $3.78 million as part of a pre-election pledge which helped Labor win the crucial seat of Corangamite.

The state education department has also injected $430,000, Colac Otway Shire Council has allocated $212,000 and Colac Basketball Association will contribute $100,000.

Other improvements to Bluewater will include new spectator seating, new change rooms for players and officials, an extension to the gym and new dry program rooms.

Meeting rooms and office and storage space will also feature.

Mr Delahunty said the redevelopment would provide better access for Colac’s basketball and netball communities.

“Today there are more than 1300 basketball and netball participants, including those in the Colac Basketball Association and Colac netball associations, all vying for limited access to the outdated courts,” he said.

Colac Otway Shire Council mayor Stephen Hart said having undersized basketball courts had made Colac ineligible to host state and regional championships.

“This upgrade will put us in a position to host regional state league and Victorian Netball League matches, as well as large regional basketball championships,” he said.

Cr Hart praised the Colac Basketball Association for having a long-term vision for Bluewater.

“The Colac Basketball Association has committed $100,000 to this project, which indicates the level of commitment they have to this facility,” he said.

The council hopes construction workers will turn the first sod on the project in early 2013, although a hydrotherapy pool at Bluewater remains a pipedream for community campaigners.

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