Opening of the new $450,000 change rooms for netballers and tennis players in Lancefield Park is the culmination of "a great story to tell".
This was the summing up from district parliamentary representative Mary-Anne Thomas after she inspected and then declared the much-needed new building open on Saturday afternoon, during the A grade netball match between Lancefield and Rockbank.
"One of my passions is supporting girls and women playing sport," the MP said in reflecting on how the project idea was conceived, progressed, and completed.
Following the disastrous Cobaw-Lancefield bushfire in October 2015, the state government provided around $1.5 million to fund priority projects in the Lancefield area to help the community post-fire recovery.
There was $450,000 allocated for the change rooms/public toilets, $800,000 which was eventually shared among seven other sporting projects in the park, $150,000 for new toilets (almost complete) in the Lancefield Mechanics' Hall, and $100,000 for an extension on the Benloch fire station.
Ms Thomas said the Lancefield community had displayed commendable resilience. The new building is not a government building; it is a community asset, and with a unified approach and pro bono contributions and donations of labour and materials there is much more worth than has been paid for.
The district MP commended many for their efforts, including former Environment Minister Lisa Neville and successor Lily D'Ambrosio, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Lancefield Park Committee headed by president Syd Green, secretary Judy Stammers and treasurer Vivian Philpotts.
Local builder John Poletti and his team,architect Stephan Kosa and Michelle Kindred who donated their services, were congratulated on the outcome, as were representatives on the project control group.
There were plenty of favourable comments on the new facility.
Syd Green said it was really pleasing to see this project successfully completed, adding to the facilities at the park.
"I can't retire now," tennis club stalwart and life member (50 years' involvement) Lorainne Kraus commented.
Respective presidents of the senior and junior football and netball clubs, Leanne Backwell and Andrew Memmolo, were also very pleased to see the new building finally in use, as indeed were the local netballers.
Riddell District Football Netball League's operations manager, Steve Williams, said it is important to see facilities for girls' sport being provided.
He said for too long netballers have not always had proper change rooms, and it is pleasing to see Lancefield make this major step forward.
The new skate park at the eastern side of Lancefield Park is approaching completion.