Funding endorsed for Gaskin Park

Much needed: Surface upgrades look to be on the way for Gaskin Park, Churchill. The condition of the Number 2 oval (left) has been unplayable in recent years. Photograph Latrobe Valley Events Precinct



LATROBE City Council has endorsed a funding application to Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Country Football Netball Program grant for two surface upgrades at Gaskin Parks Oval.

Council will seek $250,000 available through the program to complete the upgrades for the project. In addition, $100,000 from council has been allocated towards achieving a better surface.

At the meeting on Monday, April 3, Cr Melissa Ferguson said the Gaskin Park upgrade would positively affect the community.

“This would come as a great relief to the Churchill Football-Netball Club … the drainage has been very, very challenging for goodness knows how many years, and I don’t think they’ll know themselves once it is all upgraded and they feel their oval is on par with the rest of Latrobe City,” she said.

The Gaskin Park Oval Two Project aims to improve the oval’s surface and allow more sporting clubs and teams to use the ground.

Cr Darren Howe explained how council determines which clubs receive funding through a recreational needs assessment. The most needed projects are the ones that council will endorse.

The Country Football and Netball Program, delivered in collaboration with the AFL, AFL Victoria, and Netball Victoria, provides funding to regional football and netball clubs, associations, and umpiring organisations to upgrade and develop facilities in rural, regional, and outer metropolitan areas. Up to $2.5 million is available for rural, regional and outer metropolitan councils to apply for grants of up to $250,000 to deliver projects such as installing sports lighting and building new or redeveloping pavilions to benefit their local clubs.

As clubs cannot apply to the country footy grants program, council’s endorsement will be a huge next step in funding the club’s upgrades.

Latrobe City remains committed to improving outdoor spaces and facilities under the Council Plan 2021-25.

Mayor of Latrobe City Council, Cr Kellie O’Callaghan, said the upgrades would provide great benefits to the local community.

“Many sporting teams use the Gaskin Park facilities, including Churchill Junior Football Club, Churchill Cricket Club, Gippsland Power Football Club and Churchill Football and Netball Club,” the Mayor said.

“An improved surface for Gaskin Park Oval Two will provide clubs and user groups the opportunity to obtain more participants and provide those users with a positive social experience by becoming part of a recreation club.

“Major projects such as these create increased sporting opportunities, including large-scale events, bringing economic benefits to the area.”

Speaking to the Express, Churchill Football-Netball Club secretary, Megan Kearns, said the North Gippsland Football-Netball League (the league that Churchill FNC plays in) were yet to give the club the right to host a season final due to the poor state of its facilities.

She welcomed the news of the council’s funding and endorsement but will eagerly await Sport and Recreation Victoria’s approval of the Gaskin Park grant.

Churchill’s Gaskin Park is a large multisport precinct equipped for a variety of sports and events including cricket, football, netball, tennis and lawn bowls. The site has two main grass playing and training surfaces, while the larger Gaskin Park includes a lawn bowls club, netball and tennis courts.