SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

WE don’t like to say, ‘We told you so’, but we told you so!

For years and years, Wonthaggi has been tragically under-resourced when it comes to sporting facilities, specifically indoor sports stadiums for basketball, volleyball and the like.

And there’s no doubt whatsoever that the inability of this area to cater to our youth and also our active adults has increased crime and poor social outcomes in the community.

While the likes of the Wonthaggi Basketball Association struggled along with single-court venues and sheds while turning away lots of kids each year who wanted to play, towns of half this size had two-court and three-court stadiums hosting large domestic competitions and tournaments.

A happy community is a healthy and safe community.

It was an absolute disgrace and those councillors and local MPs who allowed the situation to continue did this community a great disservice.

So, now we have a terrific new stadium, and it must be said, it took a Labor government to deliver it, and already we are starting to see the signs of success with record numbers of kids registered to play and good results at the representative level as well – well done to the Under 18 Wonthaggi Coasters!

But the same goes for the very poor state of our aquatic centres.

It’s simply not good enough in a region growing at the rate Bass Coast is, and with aspirations for a dramatic upswing in population, especially in and around Wonthaggi.

The pool here is an embarrassment. You can’t even do a proper tumble-turn at the shallow end and Phillip Island too needs a proper aquatic centre for learn-to-swim and recreation for locals and services to visitors.

To the shire council’s credit, they have at least engaged consultants to prepare a business case for both facilities but the new council must set timelines for these projects to be built – one death by drowning, not to mention bad social outcomes, is too high a price to pay for not having facilities that all other regions our size already have access to.