The $24 million redeveloped Ballarat Sports Events Centre in Wendouree was officially opened on Sunday.
The Ballarat Sports Events Centre project will significantly change the indoor sporting experience in Ballarat, particularly through the inclusion of a new 3000-seat show court and additional courts capable of hosting a range of events including netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton.
This project will see six new courts added to the existing two-court Wendouree Sports and Events Centre, making it one of the biggest facilities in the region.
The first stage of the project has received $5 million in funding from the City of Ballarat, $10 million from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, and $9 million from the Victorian Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund.
A further $5.2 million was also announced in the recent Victorian Government budget for stage two works at the centre.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh says the outstanding state-of-the-art facility will deliver a major boost to local netball, basketball and badminton.
“Major sporting events provide an economic benefit to our city – they fill our hotel beds and the seats of our local cafes, restaurants and bars. It just shows the possibilities that are open to Ballarat with facilities available of this quality,” she said.
Recent announcements highlight BSEC will host: National Basketball League teams Melbourne United and the Illawarra Hawks – this will be the first major sports event to christen the new centre, in an exhibition game on Friday 13 September. This event will feature global sensation LaMelo Ball, who will play for the Illawarra Hawks the 4th Annual Basketball Australia Coaches Conference from 2-3 October 2019, which will move to Victoria and Ballarat for the first time, and five state level championship events from 2020-2022. BSEC and the Minerdome will host the U16 and U18 Division three and four Championships over the next three years, while also hosting the Under-14 Country Championships in 2020 and the Under-12 Country Championships in 2022.
Member for Wendouree, Julianna Addison added the centre also features new change rooms and toilets, a staff administration area, a café, car parking for 275 vehicles, landscaping and a bus drop-off area.
The additional courts will enable Basketball Ballarat to provide a world-class base for local and regional elite athletes and remove late-night games from their competitions – accommodating more players on more courts with more accessible playing times.
Approximately 181 jobs have been supported through the construction phase of the project with 62,537 worked hours on site– injecting $27.6 million into the Victorian economy. Six new positions will also be created in the first six months of operation to support more competition and events.
“We want to see more people playing, watching and investing in sport – the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre will provide for thousands of kids, fans and sportspeople in Ballarat every day of the week, as well as attracting others from around the region,” Ms Addison said.
Ballarat Basketball CEO Peter Eddy said the development was a legacy that would be used for many years to come.
“It’s not just for today but for generations coming through,” he said.