IMAGINE Commonwealth Games events in south-west Victoria: cycling at Peterborough along the Great Ocean Road, a triathlon at Port Fairy, and beach volleyball in Warrnambool.
These are some of the visions expressed by the region's leaders following Victoria's bid to host a regional-led 2026 Commonwealth Games after entering into exclusive negotiations.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the government's submission was to have the games held predominantly in regional Victoria.
"Victoria is Australia's sporting state, and, if awarded the 2026 Commonwealth Games would demonstrate to the world a new way to deliver the competition," he said.
"We would hope to have the majority of events in our regional cities - to display the best of Victoria, create job and housing and infrastructure that will deliver for the long term."
Mr Andrews said work was underway to establish the detailed costs and benefits to the state.
Warrnambool mayor Richard Ziegeler was not as ebullient as the region's other mayors, saying the council would consider hosting some Commonwealth Games events if financial support was available.
Warrnambool was named in an original proposal by the Greater Victoria taskforce several years ago as a potential venue for a road cycling event.
"These things can cost communities an awful amount not only in financial ramifications but in social and infrastructure requirements," Cr Ziegeler said.
"We would want to be absolutely sure the community wants it.
"While there's an enormous amount of attractions and we've got incredible skills to organise big sport events like the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic, we have to make sure there's funding committed."
Corangamite mayor Ruth Gstrein said the infrastructure would be a lasting legacy for the region.
"If it happens it would provide such a boost for regional Victoria," Cr Gstrein said. "It would be a great opportunity to profile the region - it would be great to see some cycling events around the Great Ocean Road and hinterland.
"The amount of infrastructure needed to be built for these events would leave a lasting legacy and a major boost to towns and businesses in the areas - like velodromes or stadiums or pools.
"Not to mention the economic benefit of people travelling to the region for the events and volunteering."
Cr Gstrein said legacy benefits could also include housing.
"People are crying out for worker housing in regions, and these games would probably have villages or accommodation built for the competitors.
"Leaving that behind would be really important.
"Regional Victorians attend all the big major events held in Melbourne like the AFL, tennis and Grand Prix. Something spread right across regional Victoria can only be a benefit, it really ticks all the boxes."
Moyne mayor Cr Ian Smith said the shire would welcome the Commonwealth Games, boasting facilities like the newly-renovated lawn bowls club.
"It would be fantastic," Cr Smith said. "Moyne could host beach volleyball at East Beach, the triathlon at Port Fairy, cycling at Killarney, cricket at one of the newly established ovals and lawn bowls at the renovated Port Fairy club, which is opening this Saturday.
"l think a lot of our facilities are up to it, we've got the capacity easily as a region.
"With the congestion in Melbourne it's a no-brainer; we have great accommodation and tourist attractions to make a total package, not only the sporting events.
"It's been a hard couple of years on businesses so we don't want to knock back anything in this great part of the world."
About 65 per cent of The Standard readers said they want Warrnambool to host some events.
"Might be a great way to get a safe and competitive running track in the region," reader Ian Bail said.
"I think it would be silly not to put our hands up, [it] could bring in massive amounts of future tourism, triathlon, road cycling, shooting - imagine the marathon being run along the Great Ocean Road," Matt Bellman said.
"Would love to see this happen," Rae Currie said.
However some readers believe money should be backed up by investment to fix infrastructure like roads.
"Wouldn't the billions of dollars that this will cost, be better off spent on public health?" Paul Clark asked.
Advocacy group Regional Cities Victoria said the Commonwealth Games would be a gold medal opportunity for the state's regions.
RCV Chair Kim O'Keeffe said it had been in the works for several years.
"Bringing the Games to regional Victoria will not only boost our local economies through tourism and jobs and infrastructure investment; it will support the whole state's economic recovery post-COVID," Ms O'Keeffe said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.