THE Wonthaggi Power Football and Netball Club can now host night matches after new lighting at the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve was officially opened recently.
The project was made possible through funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria ($60,000), former Coalition State Government and now retired MP Ken Smith ($140,000) and the Bass Coast Shire Council ($27,000).
The project began over five years ago and was led by former Wonthaggi Power Football and Netball Club president Rob Tesoriero, Rob Gilliland, Terry Hanley and Darren Brown.
Wonthaggi Power FNC president Brett Tessari said the new lighting is fantastic for the club.
“Training-wise for our whole club its great; coming from lights that were nearly 30 years old and really, really dangerous, to training on this now – it just makes our training better, it makes facilities for our players better and it’s safer,” he said.
“It enables us to have night games for the juniors and enables our volunteers to have a Sunday off which is nice sometimes. Just for the kids to be able to play night games under lights in front of big crowds, it makes them walk taller, which is fantastic.
“It’s a project that’s very rewarding and certainly when you see the kids running around it may as well be the MCG because they think they’re AFL superstars.”
Cr Neil Rankine officially opened the new lighting and said after some trying times, the council has been kicking goals with the club recently.
“We’ve got a whole ground out there under lights and it’s just spectacular; the condition of the ground, it’s just all coming together,” he said.
“There’s an opportunity out there for this club to really perform. The lights will now provide the ground with well-lit facilities which not only meet the Australian standards for night time lighting, they well and truly exceed 100lux so it pretty much looks like the MCG to me.”
The new lighting is not only beneficial for the football club, with the Inverloch Stars Soccer Club taking advantage of the facilities on Wednesday nights for training and the Wonthaggi United Soccer Club using the facilities at times.
The lighting project is the next step in improvements at the facility and Tessari said a grand master plan needs to be developed for the area.
“The big picture for us is new social rooms and new netball courts – our netball courts for the girls are well below standard.
“For us to be not able to host a final because of our netball courts is devastating,” he said.
“Surface-wise this is the best ground in the league; we travel from here to Bairnsdale and there’s no surface anywhere near as good as this. The job the Bass Coast Shire staff do is phenomenal, the ground is amazing but everything around the ground needs attention as well.”