shire-has-let-netballers-down-sentinel-times-commentDespite the ruling by the Alberton Football Netball League that the Wonthaggi netball courts are unfit and unsafe as a venue for their grand finals, the Wonthaggi and District Netball Association continued to use the courts for its regular season matches last Saturday. m413214

By Michael Giles

OFFICIALS of the Wonthaggi and District Netball Association were not at all surprised to hear that the Alberton Football Netball League had declared the Wonthaggi courts unfit and unsafe as the venue for the Alberton grand finals.
In fact they’ve been trying for years to get the Bass Coast Shire Council to take their concerns seriously.
Officials of the association said last weekend that they had brought Netball Victoria in to support their calls for the courts to be resurfaced and possibly reconstructed, saying they had been neglected for years.
“Yes, we’re quite aware of the problems but so far they haven’t been given a priority by the shire,” said an association spokesperson.
Despite the fact that hundreds of netball girls and woman use the courts weekly, and in the face of huge investment to the nearby football/cricket ovals; the netball courts have received nothing.
It’s not just the cracks and ridges in the courts but also the fact that water stays on the courts after rain.
Where many smaller towns including Meeniyan, Tarwin and others have been able to raise the money to resurface their courts to the required standards, Wonthaggi’s courts have remained in the old asphalt style that was prevalent 40 years ago.
The unsafe state of the courts isn’t the only reason why Wonthaggi was rejected as the venue for the Alberton grand final, in favour of Meeniyan this year.
The courts don’t have the required run-off at the ends and there is insufficient space for spectators at the sides.
“We did look at using Court 1 (used by Wonthaggi Power) and taking the fence down to provide space for spectators on both sides but it’s just not up to standard,” said one of the Alberton netball reps who inspected the courts and ruled them unfit.
“The Number 2 court is even worse.”
Clearly the courts have not received the maintenance such well-used assets should receive and as a result, the township of Wonthaggi has missed out on the economic boost that would have flowed from hosting the major local sporting event of the year.
It’s time the shire gave this job the priority it deserves and got on with it.
And in case they were worried about criticism from the Phillip Island Stand Alone lobby, the courts are used right through the winter by several teams from the island – it’s a true regional facility.