By LUKE VOOGT
BELLARINE MP Lisa Neville was at Shell Road Reserve last Friday to announce funding for new interchange benches and netting behind the goals.
“We worked with the clubs to find out what they wanted,” she told the Voice.
“Netting and the interchange benches were their first priority.”
Ms Neville said the Victorian Government made the $53,110 commitment after having already funded the ground’s new scoreboard.
“It’s just an added extra – to make sure this will be a state-of-the-art facility for decades to come,” she said.
Ms Neville joined councillor Jan Farrell, local sporting leaders and the Shell Road Pavilion Board of Management for the announcement.
Board president Phil Emery said the interchange boxes would take just days to build and will be ready for the start of the football season on 26 March.
“Nets are nice to have but coach’s boxes and interchange boxes are essential – you can’t play without them,” he said.
“If not for this funding games wouldn’t be able to proceed.”
He and board secretary Ian McTaggart agreed the facility was a “benchmark for Geelong”.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better result for the dollars available,” Mr Emery said.
“They sought our input and our relationship with the council has been fantastic.”
Cr Farrell, who is the council’s Community Safety Portfolio holder, thanked the State Government for the funding.
“For me, stopping the balls from going out onto Shell Road is a great outcome,” she said.
The government funded the project through its $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund.
Also at the announcement, were Surfside Waves Soccer Club president Andy Sattler and Ocean Grove director of netball Gill Hodgson.