Among those playing a key role in the $308,000 Korumburra Showgrounds lighting project were electrician Mat Walker, the South Gippsland Shire’s grants officer Penni Ellicott and Korumburra-Bena Football Club major projects director, Don Olden.
DESPITE their consistently strong showing in the Alberton Football Netball League, the Korumburra-Bena netball girls have never had the benefit of outside lights for training.
Not until recently that is.
It was their insistence, backed by the club’s willingness and the initiative of the South Gippsland Shire Council’s grants officer, Penny Ellicott, which turned a request for assistance in getting a set of training lights for the girls into something bigger… much bigger.
The football/netball club’s projects officer Don Olden is more than happy to pass on all the credit for the funding to Penni.
“We contacted the shire about the lights for the netball and Penni said ‘why don’t you go for the lot in one hit’. So we did.”
The beauty of it, according to Penni, is that there was already a master development plan in place for the showgrounds, and part of the credit for that goes to the A&P Society, providing the strategic support for the lighting project.
“You really have to have that when you go to the government for funding.
The club succeeded in getting a $100,000 grant under the State Government’s Country Football and Netball Program, the shire added $123,000 and the club $85,000 in cash plus a lot more in kind and ‘hey presto’, both the netballers and the footballers have one of the best lighting set-ups around, at least the equal of the one at Foster, if not better.
It will enable them to stage one night match this season, this Saturday night against Dalyston, to work out the issues, and more next season according to club vice president Troy Patterson.
It’s a far cry from what was in place before when the club used to run an extension cord out to one of the poles to get the lights going.
“Previously you would have been pushing to have 20 lux at the brightest, now with only a quarter of the globes on for training, you’ve got 50 lux at the lowest point,” said electrician for the project and life member Mat Walker.
“It’s a huge improvement, of course, with 200 lux available at both the netball courts and on the footy ground for match day.”
According to Penni, the netball courts are able to host full-scale training at 200 lux, while the oval is approved for match day games.
The action starts with the Under 11s at 11am and runs right through all junior and senior grades until the seniors kick off at 7pm.
The official opening will be held from 6pm to 6.30pm, depending on when the gap between the games is and there’s bound to be a big crowd in attendance.
The occasion will also feature a reunion celebration to commemorate Bena’s dual premierships back in 1984 when the club had all its footy sides in the grand final. All club officials and the netballers too have been invited along to the day and night match.
It’s a big occasion for the club and the community and a worthy celebration of a great project, featuring close cooperation between the State, the Shire, the showgrounds committee, the football-netball club and all those who worked to make it a success.
Mat makes light of his biggest job
THERE can be absolutely no doubt that the Korumburra Football-Netball Club, the showgrounds committee and the Korumburra community in general got more value for money and a much better result out of employing one of their own, Mat Walker of Walker Electrical Contracting, to complete the reserve’s $308,000 lighting project.
As a life member of the club, with 200-plus senior games and a senior best and fairest under his belt, Mat was well aware of the workings of the club and how to get the most out of the project funding.
Also part of the team was Mat’s wife Andrea, who, as a former netballer at the club, had a vested interest in making sure the netball part of the lighting project was all that it should be.
The outcome will be there for all to see next Saturday night when they are officially turned on for the club’s first night game, against Dalyston, on April 12.
“As sponsors and strong supporters of the club over the years, we could see how much this project was going to improve things for the players and for everyone,” said Mat last week.
“That’s why we went out hard to see if we could be a part of it and we’re really proud of the way it has all come together.”
Even down to scheduling work during the footy season last year, so there wasn’t anything left part-completed or lying around ahead of a home game.
And when adjustments needed to be made or extras added, it was no problem when you had a committed Bulldog on the job.
It was Mat’s role to take the plans prepared by international lighting company, Pierlite Professional Lighting Solutions, and get the best outcome for Korumburra.
The firm has been involved in such notable projects as the new Adelaide Oval, the Memorial Drive Tennis Complex and previously the Leongatha Football Ground lights; so they were also well equipped for the work at Korumburra.
“The power was completely inadequate to run the new lights so the first thing we had to do was upgrade the power coming into the showgrounds,” said Mat.
“They previously ran an extension cord to the light poles which basically delivered about 20 lux (brightness) and that was at the brightest point.
“These new lights can deliver an average of 200 lux right across the ground when all 40 globes are on, which is plenty for football at this level, or for training you can turn on 10 of the globes and operate at 50 lux which is still better and twice as bright as it was.”
The netball courts too have the benefit of 200 lux lighting where they didn’t have any outside lighting before. In fact, it was the netballers drive to get lights that started the whole thing.
“When Penny (Ellicott the shire’s grants officer) got involved, she said why not go for the whole thing,” said the club’s project coordinator Don Olden.
“Actually it was pretty fortunate it came along when it did because one of the old light poles had just blown up and was probably beyond repair.”
Mat said the power was placed underground to the Sanders Pavilion and then underground again to the lights around the netball courts in what now looks to be a completely seamless operation.
Mat says the globes are rated to last for at least 12,000 hours and while they’ll have to get a crane in again whenever globes need to be replaced and maintenance completed, its only what you’d expect with 30 metre-high light poles.
Specialising in all domestic electrical work, rural including new and refurbished dairies and light commercial work; the $308,000 Korumburra-Bena lights project was the biggest he has undertaken.
“We’ve done a bigger value project, but that was mainly because of the copper wire involved but this was our biggest overall,” said Matt.
While the new home building scene has been a bit quiet of late, Mat and his team at Walker Electrical Contracting have been kept busy with the usual run of domestic work, including rewiring upgrades, renovations and extensions.
“It’s ticking along OK but I’m sure everyone would like to see a few more new homes being built.”
The lights project took Mat and his team four months to complete and you can bet there was a job or two to be done around the place “while you’re here”.
Neither Mat, nor Andrea or the footy club could be happier with the outcome and all it needs is for Korumburra-Bena to go on now and breakthrough for elusive senior premiership.
“I was involved in a reserves premiership but not a senior one. We’d really love to see that in the next year or two,” he said.