Member for Western Victoria James Purcell says Warrnambool City Council needs to be shovel ready

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell says he will deliver on his $7 million promise for an AFL standard facility in Warrnambool.
Member for Western Victoria James Purcell says he will deliver on his $7 million promise for an AFL standard facility in Warrnambool.

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell says the redevelopment of Warrnambool’s Reid Oval should be ready to go as soon as the 2018 season is over. 

Warrnambool City Council unveiled its business case for the long-awaited project to user groups on Tuesday, which revealed the initiative could cost up to $12.5 million. Mr Purcell has promised to secure $7 million by the end of the Hampden Football Netball League season, but said the council needed to be shovel ready. 

“I note the report says work would begin in 2020,” he said.

“Council should have the project ready to go as soon as season 2018 is over. 

“Portable change rooms can be used while work gets underway for the change rooms and spectator area. 

“If this money comes through we need to move forward ASAP so the community can enjoy it sooner rather than later.”

The new $12.5 million plan is more than the $6.91 million that was estimated for the redevelopment in February, and is significantly short of the $7 million promised by Mr Purcell earlier this month. 

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said it was clear Mr Purcell had “jumped the gun in an attempt to grab a headline.”

“(He) hasn’t done his due diligence and consulted properly,” she said.

But Mr Purcell said there were a number of additional components including $1.258 million for relocation and $860,000 for non-construction costs. He said upgrading the oval surface, providing a new pavilion and 200 lux lighting came to a total cost of $7.05 million.

“I promised $7 million for an AFL standard facility and that is what I will deliver,” he said.

Mr Purcell said he had discussed with the council a funding matrix that including a council contribution and low interest government loan.

“Incorporating additional relocation costings and cricket components in the report does complicate things a bit and means we will need to do further work on securing the funding,” he said. 

“We have six to eight weeks now to get it done and will use this report as a springboard to secure $7 million.”

Mrs Britnell said the Liberal Nationals got the ball rolling on the Reid Oval development in 2012, providing funding for the new netball pavilion and electronic score board.

“The Andrews Government dropped the ball over the past four years,” she said. 

“I’m continuing to work with my colleagues on developing a plan for sporting grounds and clubs right across South West Coast, including the Reid Oval.

“We understand the importance of community sport and rather than gift the AFL millions of taxpayer dollars, we will first support grassroots sport.”