Wimmera Regional Multi-Sport Feasibility Study
Horsham Rural City Council has conducted a feasibility study to inform decisions for upgrades to existing or the development of new sporting infrastructure in Horsham.
The feasibility study commenced as an investigation into the viability and location of a single, multi-sport precinct of regional facilities.
Through detailed investigation and analysis of options, the feasibility study has identified a distributed model of facility improvements that are affordable, where upgrades and new facilities can be staged to reflect funding opportunities and where facility improvements are strategically aligned with the priorities of State Sporting Associations.
The feasibility study builds on previous reviews of current sporting facility provision across Horsham and the identification of sporting infrastructure needs for the community.
The study considered previous reviews, plans and strategies to understand the history, issues, challenges and opportunities in providing regional multi-sport facilities.
The feasibility study was underpinned by an extensive engagement process with State Sports Associations, local sporting user groups and other key stakeholders in determining the current and future demand for new and upgraded sporting facilities.
The study identifies the development priorities that Council will need to consider over the next 10-20 years based on the current sports participation trends, population demographic shifts and ageing infrastructure across the Horsham community.
Download the Summary Report(PDF, 7MB)
Preferred Sites and Delivery Model
The distributed model was determined to be a more sustainable option for Council.
The consolidated model of facility infrastructure was not viable because of the lack of available land of sufficient size and the high capital cost of developing a greenfield site.
Three sites are recommended for development as multi-sport precincts. Two of the sites are Council owned and involve improvement to existing infrastructure to meet local, municipal or regional facility requirements.
The distributed model delivers sports precincts across the north, west and south of Horsham. The sites and proposed facilities are:
Dimboola Road site – Regional Indoor Stadium (including four high ball courts) and outdoor netball courts, and a municipal hockey pitch.
Haven Recreation Reserve site – Regional tennis, two municipal soccer pitches, local cricket oval, community Hub and open space.
Dudley W Cornell Park site – Municipal athletics facility and two local cricket ovals with an expanded main oval and additional car parking.
Council will prioritise the development of an indoor sporting stadium and precinct at College Oval (Dimboola Road) as presented in the Study.
Council will advance the development of schematic plans for the three precincts (Dimboola Road, Haven Recreation Reserve and Dudley W Cornell Park).
Frequently Asked Questions
Why wasn’t my club involved in the feasibility study?
A feasibility study is a high level detailed investigation into the viability of a project. A feasibility study is not a capture of ‘wants and desires’ but of what is required, now and into the future, what is sustainable and how facility gaps can be addressed.
The work was commissioned by Council and considered catchment, population changes, sporting participation trends and state level strategic plans for sport in our region. The study focused on the feasibility of facility upgrades - whether upgrades were affordable and would be supported by local groups and State Sporting Associations.
In the early stages of the study, local sporting clubs were contacted and invited to provide input. Information provided by local sporting clubs is included in the final report.
The study considered feedback from the state and local sporting bodies and investigated options to fund, build, use and maintain the different facilities.
The study has been endorsed by Council and detailed community engagement for each of the sites can proceed.
How were the sports identified as requiring regional, municipal or local level facilities?
Victorian sporting facility guidelines and input from 13 State Sporting Associations helped identify sporting facility levels required for our municipality.
A mix of regional, municipal and local level facilities is required to meet current and projected usage.
Have we planned for the future?
The Study identifies the development priorities Council needs to consider over the next 10-20 years based the current sports participation trends, population demographic shifts and aging infrastructure across the Horsham community. It also factors in potential increases to population growth if sectors like mining are approved for the region.
The population of the Horsham municipality is projected to be stable over the next 10 – 15 years, with moderate population increase anticipated in the range 0f 0.5-1.5%.
Why wasn’t the rail corridor considered?
A total of ten sites, involving 14 land owners /managers were investigated.
One of the first actions in the study was to identify the land mass required for a multi-purpose sporting precinct. The required land area was calculated to be 15ha. This discounted some locations due to sheer size, the rail corridor was one such site.
Why hasn’t a synthetic surface been recommended for Little Athletics and Hockey?
Little Athletics Victoria is supportive of the Dudley W Cornell site layout and acknowledge the proposed design is the most sustainable and affordable option for Council.
Little Athletics Victoria also recognises the benefits of a multi-use sport precinct and supports a grass track surface rather than synthetic.
Synthetic surfaces are not being recommended at this stage but concept plans allow for future-proofing if demand for sports or their status as a facility changes – from municipal to regional.
Can we afford the facility upgrades?
A single precinct of regional level facilities for multiple sports is not affordable for our municipality. The required land mass is not available, construction costs would be prohibitive and local participation numbers (current and projected over a 10 year period) would result in facilities not being fully utilized.
The distributed model of development provides affordable options of upgrades that can be implemented as funding becomes available.
Council will be relying on significant amounts of external funding for the projects from a combination of external (State and Federal funding sources). There will be also internal, HRCC funding required. Funding is not guaranteed. Factual, logical and independent assessment of demand, gaps and standards is required to make a case for investment.
How will the indoor stadium and other facilities be managed?
Facilities at both the Haven Recreation Reserve and Dudley W Cornell Park are currently managed by HRCC.
The feasibility study provides management options for the Indoor stadium and this will be investigated in further detail with the development of the project.
Why is the indoor stadium located at Horsham College?
A number of sites were assessed for the location of the indoor stadium. This included the Horsham Showgrounds and the velodrome. The site assessment tool identified that the Dimboola Rd site is the best location for the stadium.
Negotiations with Horsham College have been underway for more than 6 months to consider the development of an indoor/outdoor stadium facility and a hockey pitch at the Dimboola Road oval location.
Will the stadium be able to be used during school times?
Management and use of the indoor stadium will be worked through as part of the project development.
Will my sport be able to use the stadium?
The facility will be available to all local clubs, not only those located at the facility.
What is happening with... specific clubs
What is happening with squash?
Squash Victoria was provided with an email update on the final design outcomes and confirmation that new squash courts were excluded due to cost constraints for the project.
The Squash Club will continue to work with council officers to discuss options to support the club.
What is happening with croquet?
The Horsham Croquet Club does not wish to relocate from the existing facility, adjacent to the Lawn Tennis Courts.
Croquet Victoria strongly supports the Horsham Croquet Club in remaining at the existing facility and did not want croquet included in the planning of a regional multi-sport precinct.
Kalimna Park Croquet Club is located in Baillie St and also did not want to be included in a regional sporting precinct.
What is happening with Table Tennis?
In recent years, the Horsham Table Tennis Association moved to a new venue.
Table Tennis Victoria is very supportive of being considered in a new Indoor Stadium development, which could attract regional tournaments and events if the facility was suitable for the sport’s technical requirements.
What is happening with Basketball?
Basketball Victoria and the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association are supportive of the new indoor stadium design and site location. Having a new compliant venue will help the growth of basketball in the region.
The Association will remain at the venue in McPherson St but will use the regional stadium for tournaments. Locating the stadium near Horsham College will encourage after school training and skills pathway development.
What is happening with Jung Tigers?
Cricket Victoria is supportive of the Wimmera Sports Precincts project and proposed site layouts. They appreciated the early consultation on proposed redevelopment of the Dimboola Road oval and that Council is committed to an alternative oval for cricket use.
Meetings have been held with representatives from both the Horsham Cricket Association and with Jung Tigers Cricket Club and options to identify an alternate site for the Club are being investigated.
Will Clubs be forced to relocate?
There is no plan to shut down courts or relocate clubs.
It is expected that the potential to schedule all-year use of facilities because of lighting and other improvements will result in an increase in people playing the various sports and a programming shift to the new or upgraded facilities.