More commitment needed

LATROBE Valley Hockey Association finally has its field of dreams, but there are still a few nightmares to overcome, according to association president Linda Reid.

In the wake of a successful grand finals weekend at the recently refurbished synthetic fields at Monash University Gippsland campus, Reid lamented on a lack of shelter and concreting at the Churchill facility.

With only a school bus shelter providing relief from the weather for officials, spectators and players, Reid has been pushing for funding to establish basic infrastructure at the venue.

“We’ve got nothing there except the carpark, the ground and the lights, which are fantastic,” she said.

“We’re asking for the concreting to be finished to preserve the integrity of the ground and add to the amenity, and also for some shelter down on the ground.”

Reid has been jockeying Latrobe City Council to implement a firm funding plan in order to have the work completed by the start of next season.

“There is no plan for future funding,” she said.

“We don’t want to queue jump and we’re not asking for the Taj Mahal.

“I’m just frustrated that we need a plan and we’ve been overlooked.”

The club has been actively setting aside money to finance facility expansions, but has found it difficult to stage meaningful fundraisers without a clubhouse or canteen, according to Reid.

Their cause received a boost courtesy of Olympian Ashlee Wells, who raffled a signed Hockeyroos shirt on the club’s grand final weekend, and Reid said the process was ongoing.

The club has also applied for a community grant to achieve their ends.

Reid said in the long term they would like to construct clubrooms, change rooms, seating, coach’s boxes and a children’s playground.

With a summer competition and off-season training camps in the works, including the Hockey Victoria road-show early next year, Reid was hopeful the club could continue to grow with its facilities.

“Since the ground has been built we’ve had an increase in participation but we still need more,” she said.

“We’re just going to keep plodding away.”

Council responded to the club’s grievances following its Monday meeting and will provide a grant to establish a shelter.

“In response to a submission that we received from the hockey association we have been able to respond with a $3000 allocation,” Councillor Darrell White said.

“There has got to be conversation between the hockey association, council and Monash University to be sure the structure that goes up meets all expectations.

“Beyond that council will be having further discussions with the hockey association regarding a more substantial facility for the longer term.”