Sports Minister Corey Wingard was in Whyalla to present the Whyalla City Council with a cheque for almost $900,000, which will go towards extensive upgrades at Bennett Oval and Memorial Oval
Minister Wingard came to town on Tuesday evening to present the $890,850 funding to the city and inspect the ovals and sporting precincts the money is going to benefit.
For Bennett Oval, the funding adds to the $2.8m committed by Council to bring the oval and facilities up to AFL and Australian cricket standard in Stage 1 of that development. Memorial Oval will see more improvements to the surface, a new irrigation system and lighting.
Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Council CEO Chris Cowley and a group of elected members were present to show the Minister around the two venues.
Mayor McLaughlin said the visit by the Minister to personally present the money and see the venues was very much appreciated and showed the State Government's commitment to helping Whyalla grow and provide more facilities for the community.
"It was great to see Minister Wingard visiting the regions and especially Whyalla," Mayor McLaughlin said.
"He got to see firsthand what this money will do for Whyalla as we develop these two ovals for football and cricket along with many other sports and community uses.
"He also listened carefully to what we are doing to transform our city, how this funding and the upgrades will benefit everyone in our community while also opening the way for some national level sporting events in Whyalla."
Mayor McLaughin said Minister Wingard complimented Council on its successful funding application for projects that have also drawn support from the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA).
"At Bennett Oval we are creating a surface and facilities that will allow us to host AFL pre-season matches, regular season SANFL matches along with state and national level cricket contests," Mayor McLaughlin said.
"For every other day of the year, this development and the upgrade of Memorial Oval will have huge benefits for everyone in Whyalla in other sports and recreational activities.
"We are proud to have the State Government, the SANFL and SACA as key stakeholders in these exciting developments and I congratulate our Council staff for putting together this successful grant application."
Minister Wingard said sporting hubs, like Bennett and Memorial ovals, were crucial to the cultural fabric of towns such as Whyalla.
"That is why the Marshall Government is committed to ensuring regional sporting clubs across the state have the facilities they need to ensure the social and physical health and wellbeing of their communities," Minister Wingard said.
The State Government funding comes from the Grassroots Football, Cricket and Netball Facility Program (The Grassroots Program), administered through the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing.
The funding is part of a Marshall Liberal Government commitment to inject $10 million into grassroots sports across South Australia and was the result of a grant application from Council.
The funding from Round One will be used for an array of infrastructure projects throughout the state, focusing on family-friendly facilities with the Marshall Liberal Government saying it will unlock more than $24 million for grassroots sports across South Australia.