Wallington Reserve a win for all

Bellarine ward councillor Jim Mason. (supplied)

Inclusivity is such a vital component of any community.

Ensuring that all people are made to feel welcome – no matter their background – to be part of something bigger than themselves is not only desirable, but also essential.

That is why I was so pleased to see the construction of a $4.25 million all-abilities pavilion at Wallington Reserve among the projects council resolved to apply for Victorian government funding for at our February meeting.

We did this by approving the submission of applications to the Regional Community Sports Infrastructure Fund (RCSIF) to help deliver community sports upgrades totalling more than $10.7 million.

Significantly, council also gave a pre-commitment of $3.25 million in our upcoming 2024-25 budget to support the Wallington Reserve project.

The remainder, $1 million, would come via the state’s All Abilities Infrastructure funding stream if the application is successful.

The space in the proposed pavilion would be welcoming and inclusive for the Wallington community but its capacity to cater to those of all abilities is why I am so proud of council’s commitment to fund this project.

Sporting clubs have evolved and should be for all, and a modern, all-abilities pavilion that caters to the needs of everyone should no longer be an exception but a rule.

Works on the proposed development would include extending the pavilion to provide two compliant baseball/cricket change rooms, a shared kitchen/canteen, social space and internal toilets, a bar, and

additional storage.

It would also allow for external sensory lights to illuminate the car park, while a sealed path to connect to the Pigeon Club would have accessible external toilet facilities included in the redevelopment.

As detailed in the Wallington Reserve masterplan, this funding would go towards removal of some of the site’s Cypress pines to enable a compliant baseball field to be constructed, with works including re-alignment of the current field, a new back net, dug-outs, scorers box and gates.

In addition to all of this, an electronic scoreboard would be installed and tree planting throughout the reserve would be strengthened.

Importantly, an additional $50,000 will be sought from the state via its all-abilities participation funding stream.

This money, if granted, would contribute to supporting the work of the Bellarine Bears Baseball Club and Wallington Cricket Club with their all-abilities programs.

I trust the Victorian government will appreciate the benefits this funding would provide to the Bellarine community and am hopeful council’s application for funding of these projects will receive a positive outcome.