By Jessica Anstice
The council will cover the lease of Officer Recreation Reserve for just $1 per year for the next nine years, as Officer Sport Club begins its $1.8 million facility upgrade project.
The Federal Government granted Officer Sport Club $1 million in April last year, while the State Government contributed $200,000, Cardinia Shire Council $400,000 and the tenant and other community groups a further $200,000.
Combined, the funding will help bring the facility up to standard, with new social rooms for the football, netball, cricket, tennis, scouts and Country Women’s Association.
New social rooms will be an extension to the existing eastern oval change rooms and will be large enough to seat 180 people, whereas the current rooms can only seat 120 people.
“This project has been on the recreation reserve’s agenda for a very long time as the existing social rooms at the Officer Recreation Reserve, which were built by the community in 1984, were no longer suitable for the tenant clubs and community groups due to their age, size, functionality, regulatory compliance and aesthetics,” Officer Recreation Reserve secretary Gareth Sheean said.
“The social rooms were also using parts of the old change rooms that were built in 1973.
“The existing rooms can only adequately seat around 120 people – which needs to be more due to the exponential growth in the tenant clubs, and its kitchen is not large or equipped to cope with catering for groups above 150.”
The facility’s user groups regularly have the need to cater for more than 150 people and therefore either don’t run events of that scale or go elsewhere.
With new social rooms, the user groups will be able to host a wider range of events that will help with their fundraising ability.
On top of that, community group members will be able to enjoy a more modern and functional space.
“We have already had support from a number of the local schools and businesses who have expressed interest in utilising the new venue to host exams, functions and meetings,” he said.
In order for the project to go ahead under the Officer Recreation Reserve committee’s name, the council has leased a 570 square metre parcel of land under its governance and compliance rules.
“This project will be unique to some of the other similar sporting pavilion upgrades around the shire as the Officer Recreation Reserve committee, in partnership with the council, will be project managing the construction,” he explained.
“We will be able to engage the knowledge, expertise and skills of our club and community group members which could be current and past players, sponsors and community members.”
Mr Sheean said the project’s architects Harvan Design Pakenham have done a terrific job so far.
Construction was set to start in October last year and completed by July this year, however due to delays with permits as well as Covid-19, works will now kick off in July with the expected completion around March 2021.