The new $10.7 million Reid Oval was lit up on Friday night, as the region's premier sporting facility redevelopment was unveiled and officially opened.
Representatives from Cricket Victoria and AFL Victoria joined local sporting club and association representatives and members of the community who toured the upgraded Reid Oval which was open to the public as part of the celebrations. The venue was officially opened by MP Chris Couzens.
The revamp includes a completely new playing surface with a clay cricket wicket, a modern two-storey pavilion and better training facilities including multi-purpose cricket nets and a training oval to the north-east of the main ground.
A lighting upgrade to the oval and netball courts will also allow for games to be played at night.
The long-awaited revamp of the facility was touted as re-establishing Reid Oval as the jewel in the city's sporting crown.
The project was funded by the Victorian government, Sport and Recreation Victoria and Regional Development Victoria ($7.1 million), Warrnambool City Council ($3m), AFL Victoria ($250,000) Cricket Victoria ($200,000) and clubs and community ($95,000).
The oval was redeveloped following months of intensive lobbying in 2018 from then Member for Western Victoria James Purcell and the previous Warrnambool City councillors - Tony Herbert, Michael Neoh, Kylie Gaston, Sue Cassidy, David Owen, Peter Hulin and Robert Anderson.
Mr Purcell said the new facility would provide economic benefits for the region, helping to attract major sporting and other events to the south-west.
He said it was "the major sporting oval in the region" and he was proud of the role he played in securing funding.
IN OTHER NEWS
"There was a hell of amount of work that went into it because there were people who thought there were higher priorities than the Warrnambool oval but it was working with the treasurer in particular," he said. "It was rewarding to do it.
"It's going to be a real asset to the local community and hopefully we can use it for some major events. It'll be tremendous.
Warrnambool mayor Vicki Jellie said a project of this magnitude was years in the making, "and to borrow a sporting cliché, this win is a team effort".
She said a detailed business case showed there was a need for an improved playing surface but also because the "existing facilities were not inclusive, not very accessible and were not what the community expected in the 21st century".
She said despite the size of the project "and the significant impact of COVID-19", the works were completed on time and under budget. Additional funds meant a 500 metre concrete path around the oval and upgraded lights at the netball courts could also be included.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.