By Kirra Grimes

KORUMBURRA could become a major sporting hub for the region under a new plan to unlock the potential of the Richard Street Recreation Reserve.
The reserve’s committee of management has outlined a suite of upgrades they consider crucial not only to retaining existing users of the council-owned facility – including members of the Korumburra Cricket and Korumburra City Soccer clubs – but attracting greater numbers and diversifying usage into the future.
The plans, developed with GippSport using community grant funding, include four new, relocated cricket practice nets; a new synthetic court surface suitable for a range of sports; a basketball ring; and new fencing.
The plans were unveiled at a presentation, by the committee, to the South Gippsland Shire Council’s administrators at Leongatha on Wednesday.
The upgraded facilities could be used for soccer training and small sided soccer games; cricket training and warm-ups; and other social and modified sports opportunities.
They could even provide South Gippsland’s first hockey training facility, potentially opening up a new world of sporting opportunity for the region.
The project could be staged, depending on availability of funds, presenters said.
But the important thing, they say, is to get started.
“Some of the facilities we’ve got now are really inappropriate,” said secretary/treasurer of the Korumburra Recreation Reserve Committee and Korumburra Cricket Club, Allan Summerfield.
“Our cricket club’s growing – we’ve got four senior teams and three junior teams – and the nets we’ve got are really ratty, so we’re doing work to fix them up for the upcoming season but the long-term goal is to get new nets,” he said.
GippSport’s Michelle Harris said technical investigations had found the reserve could be much better and more safely utilised if certain components were repositioned.
An unused netball court site, for instance, with the addition of a synthetic surface, could be used for soccer and cricket training, allowing training to continue while preserving the main oval in wet conditions, she said.
“South Gippsland weather is not the greatest for winter sport.
“And Korumburra City Soccer Club’s actually one of the most successful, largest soccer clubs in the district.
“So, they give the oval a pounding. Providing a training facility off the oval would be of real benefit,” she said.
The proposed synthetic surface would also be ideal for hockey, the state’s peak body of which (Hockey Victoria) has “been trying to break into South Gippsland for some time,” she said.
A basketball ring would promote greater community use of the reserve, “improving the amenity so people actually want to go there,” and fencing would improve safety.
“We’re just trying to make the reserve as useful and friendly to both the [sporting] clubs and the community,” Allan said.
“From the cricket club’s point of view, it’s important for us to go forward to improve facilities; to hang on to the kids and the players we’ve got.”
Shire administrator Julie Eisenbise said she looked forward to seeing the committee at the next community grants presentations.
“You’ve got a great plan here and you’ve obviously done a lot of work and this is an area where we see again that the contribution volunteers make to the community is invaluable.
“We do appreciate your time and volunteerism. You’re thinking of the future – that’s the value,” she said.