$60,000 shortfall stalls Reid Oval upgrade

A FUNDING black hole of about $60,000 is stalling Reid Oval’s long-awaited upgrade.

Warrnambool’s premier sports ground was to have a new electronic scoreboard, multi-purpose netball changerooms and upgraded netball courts by the end of this month. But no work has started.

The Standard can reveal the cost blow-out is holding up the project. Originally estimated at $565,536, it is understood the works will exceed $600,000.

User groups, which have already pledged $90,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in voluntary and in-kind support, have been asked for more by Warrnambool City Council.

But they have indicated they can’t cover the extra dollars needed.

Council is due to meet with user groups next week in a bid to further discuss the issue.

The council’s communications manager Nick Higgins confirmed the shortfall in a three-sentence prepared statement.

“The proposed upgrade of the Reid Oval currently exceeds the funding allocated to the project,” he said.

“Rather than alter the scope of the project, which will meet AFL standards, council is investigating further funding sources to cover the shortfall.

“The council will continue to work with the project control group to make the upgrade a success.”

It is understood the cost of getting services like electricity to the eastern side of the venue is significantly more than first estimated.

The council will not start the project until it has funding for the total cost of the works.

The development comes 16 months after the state government announced $200,000 for the project, with the council throwing in $100,000. Warrnambool Football Netball Club has pledged $50,000, while philanthropic trusts the A.L. Lane Foundation, Ray and Joyce Uebergang Foundation and Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation have each provided $25,000, East Warrnambool Football Netball Club $20,000, Warrnambool and District Football Netball League $10,000, the Hampden Football Netball League and Nestles Cricket Club $5000 each.

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