By Mitch Guy
THE is ramping up its campaign for new facilities as the association continues to lose basketballers.
WBA officials met with Bass MP Brian Paynter last week to detail the predicament the association faces.
Currently, the WBA uses courts at the Wonthaggi YMCA, Wonthaggi Secondary School Dudley Campus, Wonthaggi North Primary School and Wonthaggi Primary School.
These courts are not the legal size and suitability required for basketball.
With each venue containing only one court, the WBA is forced to schedule matches across five nights.
The Bass Coast Shire recently confirmed the construction of a two-court stadium is part of Stage 2 of the master plan for the Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre Redevelopment.
But WBA committee member Jenny McRae said the plans scheduled for five years’ time will be too late.
“We’re going to lose so many kids in those five years, we’re even losing kids in Under 12s and Under 14s now who are going to Korumburra because we just haven’t got the facilities,” she said.
“Years ago my mother used to play basketball at the town hall and it was one court. We’ve gone from one court, moved location and we’ve still got one court, no home, no nothing.
“We’ve got a cabinet, a state trophy but we’ve got nowhere to display these kids’ achievements.”
She said it is sad for both the kids and the community.
“Our association has dropped off and it’s getting real alarming and concerning about what’s going to happen,” she said
“In 12 months to two years’ time, where are we going to be at? Korumburra can’t take any more kids either, they’re at full capacity.”
The issue garnered the interest of the wider Gippsland area on WIN News recently.
Federal MP Russell Broadbent told WIN News he was yet to be approached for funding.
“I’d like to think the Bass Coast Shire put in an application to the federal government for support,” he said.
Mr Paynter said Wonthaggi should be the central regional town for all sports.
“Being fairly new to town it just staggers me; I don’t know how these facilities have been let go to the state that they’ve been in without people screaming blue murder,” he said.
“Everything’s ready to go but we just don’t have the facilities. I see so much talent, I see the organisations that have been set up for years and years.
“They’ve been left to deteriorate to a state where now it’s a big fix. It’s not a little fix and I’ve got many organisations that are asking for the same thing.”
He suggested a multi-purpose complex is the way to go.
“It’s the way they’re all heading and it’s really the way I think,” he said.
“You do need a centrally co-ordinated administration point and all of the growth councils go down the path of, ‘we’ll build it, we don’t manage it and we outsource it’.
“We need to get the sporting groups together and find what their priorities are, we’ll cost it up and do a master plan for the site which makes sure every group is incorporated into it.”
Nowhere for Wonthaggi’s youth
The impact that the lack of sporting facilities has on Wonthaggi’s youth was highlighted by WBA committee members who attended the Ice Forum in Wonthaggi last Thursday.
It was noted on a number of occasions that engaging youth with sporting facilities and programs is one of the best ways to tackle the ice problem.
Youth outreach worker and community activist, Les Twentyman said a lot of his time was spent picking up kids who had dropped out of the school system and placing them in sport programs.
Wonthaggi missing out
THE plight of the Wonthaggi Basketball Association was no more evident than during the Wonthaggi Coaster’s under 14 Girls visit to Gosford, where the side was ranked 18th in Australia.
The side came up against many towns with state-of-the-art facilities, leaving the girls further disappointed with their own town’s lack of facilities.
One of the venues was the $3.4million Sport Centre at the Central Coast Adventist School in Erina – a town with a population of 4,633 (2011 Census).
The Sport Centre had two full-sized basketball courts with retractable seating for 870 people, plus classrooms, offices, training facilities, a fitness studio and change rooms below.
In comparison, Wonthaggi, Wonthaggi North and South Dudley combine for a population of 7,276.
Nearby towns including Inverloch (4,961), Cape Paterson (719) and Dalyston (604) also play games in Wonthaggi.
Across South Gippsland there are a number of towns with superior facilities to Wonthaggi:
• Leongatha – population 5,332, two multi-purpose courts at SPLASH complex.
• Korumburra – population 4,373, two basketball courts at Korumburra Recreation Centre.
• Foster – population 1,677, one court at Foster Showgrounds.
• Meeniyan – population 645, one court at Meeniyan Basketball Stadium.
• Poowong – population 610, one court at Poowong Basketball Stadium.
• Welshpool – population 439, one court at Welshpool Basketball Stadium.