Game plan for Darley

Burgeoning membership at Darley sports clubs has prompted calls for bigger and better facilities.

A Darley Park Recreation Reserve user group is lobbying the state and federal governments to fund upgrades to the ageing and inadequate facilities.

An online petition by the group has already picked up more than 500 signatures.

An AFL Goldfields report in 2016 stated that the park needed upgraded change rooms, umpire change rooms, netball facilities, lighting and courts, as well as a multipurpose pavilion.

Darley Football Netball Club president Ray Newton said the club had outgrown its home grounds – expanding from three junior teams three years ago, to 21 this season.

“The grounds and the netball courts are in fine condition but we want to ensure that, as our membership grows, we can do that comfortably,” Mr Newton said.

“To do that, we need to upgrade facilities.

“They’re just outdated for what we want to do in the future.

“We need more than what we can do on our own through fundraising.”

Mr Newton applauded Moorabool council’s efforts in rolling out upgrade programs around the shire and said the club wanted to collaborate with the council on a plan for Darley Park.

He said a business case was being prepared for a proposed hub which would include unisex change rooms, public amenities and a venue that would have meeting rooms and accommodate about 300 people for large-scale events.

Lead petitioner Robyn Bewley said she believed that local, state and federal investment was “desperately needed”.

“We are a proud community and to support our ever-growing and changing community we need … support to create a facility in Darley that will ensure community members have access to safe and flexible spaces,” Ms Bewley wrote.

She said the group wanted to create a facility where people were “welcomed and feel connected” and would remove barriers to participation.

“We seek to build a modern community centre in the heart of the Darley community, whilst replacing aged facilities at Darley Park to cater for unisex participation levels that are exploding across all user groups.”

View the petition: