It’s exciting times for Gembrook Cockatoo Football Netball Club, with works underway on the new $2.5 million Gembrook Recreation Reserve pavilion.
The mammoth project is being jointly funded with $1.45 million from Cardinia Shire Council and a further $1 million from the Federal Government’s Community Development Program.
With majority of the old club rooms now demolished, works are underway to build the new pavilion which will include unisex and universally accessible change rooms for players and umpires, accessible amenities with a lift to access the first floor, a gym and a first aid room.
There will also be more room for storage, a minor upgrade to the existing kitchen and social room and an upgrade to the spectator viewing lounge and timekeeper’s room.
Member for La Trobe Jason Wood said the redeveloped pavilion will provide a modern and inclusive space for the local sporting community to enjoy.
“Back in 2016 I committed the $1m to upgrade the very old and antiquated facilities, in actual fact they were the worst changing rooms in the area,” he said.
“It is great to see this project progress to construction and the Australian Government is proud to be able to support local sporting clubs with the upgraded facilities they desperately need. From the government perspective, what I’ve been really pushing for is to make sure work is underway now to keep people in jobs.
“The new pavilion will help Gembrook’s local football, netball and cricket clubs keep pace with increased participation and continue to meet sporting codes and standards.”
Cardinia Shire mayor Jeff Springfield said the project was a great example of collaborative efforts to improve much loved and well used community infrastructure.
“A collaborative effort between federal and local governments and our local Gembrook sporting clubs, this project will bring the reserve’s pavilion into the modern age and continue to serve the Gembrook community and their growing clubs well into the future,” Cr Springfield said.
After many years of advocating for the upgrade, Cr Leticia Wilmot is thrilled about the works having recently commenced.
“It will be great to get this club room done as the football club is important to Cockatoo and Gembrook – the facility is desperately needed by the two communities,” Cr Leticia Wilmot said.
“It’s a really strong club so it will be great to get them back into a nice, new and modernised facility.”
Cr Brett Owen has been lobbying for the upgrade since about 2012.
“Personally, I’ve been advocating for an upgrade here since 2012 and it’s great to see it finally happen,” he said.
The redevelopment will bring the pavilion up to the required standards for the respective sporting codes and provide universally accessible facilities to support greater participation in sport for females.
Gembrook Cockatoo Football Netball Club president Ross Hubbard said the construction of a new pavilion has come at a good time.
“The community is growing and so construction has come at the right time to facilitate the growth in the area,” Mr Hubbard said.
“Beforehand it was very small and not able to adequately cope with the amount of teams, players and volunteers that we have at the club. We probably had the worst rooms in the league.
“Because the club is growing we need a bigger building to compete with the other clubs.”
The club’s vice president, Marcus Adams, said the new asset will be “incredible” for the club and community.
“I’ve played here since I was a little kid and you get used to the rooms but the standard of rooms here compared to all of the other clubs has been pretty dismal,” Mr Adams said.
“It’s great for the development of the young fellas and young ladies within the club – football and netball.
“It’s just terrific for the community has a whole.”
The redevelopment will also provide a community space for the local community to access.
The upgraded pavilion will be used by the Gembrook Cockatoo Football Netball Club, the
Gembrook Cricket Club, as well as local community groups.
Cardinia Council will continue to work closely with the Gembrook Cockatoo Football Netball Club, Gembrook Recreation Reserve’s Section 86 Committee of Management and the Gembrook Cricket Club during the project.
Works have started onsite and are expected to be completed by February next year.