SOUTH Gippsland Shire will not be getting a high jump facility any time soon. With the construction cost estimated at a prohibitive $180,000, Council voted unanimously at the meeting last Wednesday against the development of a synthetic high jump facility. Instead, Council will support the Leongatha Little Athletics Club in pursuing external funding for a grass high jump facility, should they determine such a facility to be a local priority.
It was after Leongatha girl Eleanor Patterson won a gold medal in the high jump at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games earlier this year that Cr Don Hill came up with the bright idea of investigating the feasibility of a local high jump facility. Currently high jump athletes have to travel to Cranbourne or the Latrobe Valley to access dedicated synthetic athletics facilities. The proposal was agreed to with alacrity by most of the other councillors, and it was decided to investigate the matter. A report was duly prepared by shire officers. The conclusion was that while Eleanor’s achievement should be applauded and recognised, Council could best serve the broader community’s needs through the provision of facilities for local level participation rather than elite level competition.
Cr Jim Fawcett said that he wished it to be noted that he had voted against the investigation. He said the report provided no extra information and he was disappointed that Council had chosen to ignore all the information available and created unrealistic expectations in the community.