AFTER completion of the vast majority of the projects identified as priorities in the 2005 Master Plan, Foster Showgrounds has a new plan.
The 2013 Foster Showgrounds Master Plan was adopted by the showgrounds committee of management (a Section 86 committee of South Gippsland Shire Council) in September. In a presentation to Council last Wednesday, committee members Bruce Standfield and Deb Allott explained the work that went into the plan.
Mr Standfield ran through how projects from the 2005 master plan have progressed:
- Inspect and remove dangerous trees – arborist report completed, work routinely undertaken, planting completed;
- Upgrade electricity supply to site, increase number of outdoor outlets and replace netball light pole – oval and netball court lighting completed and new switchboard installed; a further power upgrade and additional outdoor power outlets are still required;
- Develop traffic management plan to reduce speed and improve pedestrian safety – improvements have been made;
- Build new public toilets with disability access – completed;
- Provide disability access to football club rooms – lift installed;
- Install fully fenced and lit playground – completed, full fence not required, bollards used;
- Re-roof pig pens – replaced with new shed;
- Replace/resurface netball courts – one completed;
- Landscape grounds – ongoing works;
- Build two new open-sided sheds for cattle and markets – completed but additional shed required;
- Upgrade main entrance – not changed;
- Demolish/relocate old BBQ pavilion – not relocated;
- Relocate entrance near cricket nets – completed;
- Improve ventilation for basketball stadium – not completed;
- Install rain shelter at basketball entrance – completed with air lock;
- Develop new rotunda and BBQ for tourists – not completed;
- Build second basketball court/multi-function recreation centre – not feasible;
- Line the interior walls of basketball stadium and paint bricks to improve lighting – some works have been completed;
- Seal road around arena – no work completed
- Widen gates and improve driveway to provide vehicle access from Nelson/Landy Road – pedestrian access requires further improvement;
- Beautify exterior of basketball stadium – completed;
- Build tiered seating for netball spectators – no change;
- Extend scorers shed to full width of netball court – new netball shed installed;
- Relocate cricket nets – removed;
- Develop alternative heavy usage area other than arena – landscaping improvements are continuing.
With the 2005 Master Plan expiring in 2011, work on the new master plan began in 2011/12, the committee working with consultants Hands on Community Solutions. This involved widespread consultation with user groups, council staff and other community organisations.
“The aim was to develop a master plan for the future that considers all recreational needs and opportunities,” said Mr Standfield.
Although the core group of stakeholders in the showgrounds remains constant (football and netball clubs, the Hard Work Café gym and the Show Society, for example) new user groups also appear. The showgrounds must cater for all, as well as for the changing needs of the local population. New user groups include women’s boxing classes and the Prom Coast University of the Third Age (U3A), which uses the show secretary rooms each week day. The rent the U3A pays has assisted with improvements to security and power.
“The committee is trying to think laterally to get other avenues of income to help support the ground into the future,” said Mr Standfield.
High priority projects identified in the 2013 Master Plan include:
Renovation/extension of the stadium – very high priority given to electrical upgrade and new court lighting, court run-off distances compliance, formalising car parking and creating pedestrian access, and baby change facilities and upgrading men’s toilets; and high priority given to designating a safe room.
Main oval improvement works – very high priority given to major oval renovation project, and to developing and implementing oval maintenance program.
Drainage – very high priority given to correcting oval perimeter drainage and addressing netball facility drainage issues; and high priority given to forming table drains behind football clubrooms.
Driveways and access – very high priority given to improving width, drainage and surface, relocating ticket box, and traffic calming near playground; and high priority given to maintaining limited access between netball courts and oval, and using signage/infrastructure to define parking/driveway areas.
General reserve landscaping – very high priority given to maintaining and developing the front entrances and upgrading fencing; and high priority to developing a formal accessible walking path between the key reserve features, providing a fitness trail and creating a new track for the Rotary Train.
Netball club infrastructure – very high priority given to monitoring and maintaining the Plexipave court surface, due to be resurfaced in 10 years, conducting detailed geotechnical investigations and preparing cost estimates, and deciding on the best location for the two courts; and high priority given to developing change room/clubhouse facilities as resources allow and connecting water, and installing new lighting and completing lux level testing and maintenance as required.
Football clubrooms – high priority given to extension of upstairs viewing area, undercover veranda area on building front, relocating CFA coupling, and upgrading kitchen and bar areas.
Cr Andrew McEwen asked if the committee had considered the implications of the ageing population. Mr Standfield said this was certainly the case and said it was one of the reasons why the committee had not gone forward with its earlier plans to build a new basketball stadium.