Mildura Rural City Council and Mildura Football Netball Club (MFNC) have announced that the Club won’t relocate to the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct (MSRSP) at this stage.
Council and the MFNC have been in discussions on and off for many years about the prospect of the Club relocating to the MSRSP, however the MFNC informed Council that given the growth and current make-up of the club, and the staged approach of the MSRSP, it has elected to remain at City Oval.
Council’s General Manager Community Martin Hawson said that when these discussions started many years ago, the Mildura Football Club as it was known then, had shown an interest in relocating.
Mr Hawson said there had since been several developments, both within the Club and the approach to the MSRSP, which prompted a re-think.
“Firstly, when we initially started these discussions more than 10 years ago the Mildura Football Club was a very different entity to what it is today,” Mr Hawson said.
“It’s since grown to include the Junior Football and Netball Clubs and is now a very different organisation with different requirements.
“Similarly, since those early discussions and planning around how the MSRSP would look, we are now constructing the project under a staged approach, which is necessitated by a lack of funding opportunities enabling the full project to be built in one go.
“As a result of not being able to build the facility with all the elements in the first stage, MFNC felt the facility wouldn’t meet its immediate needs, particularly around outdoor netball and the provision of a second oval to prevent junior football from being played off-site.
“Certainly, our intention is that the MSRSP will be able to accommodate these requirements in time, however given this can’t be achieved in the first stage, MFNC has indicated it would prefer to remain at its current location.”
Mildura Football Netball Club President Toni Dean said the Club’s decision was made with the best interests of its members in mind.
“Our committee decided that it wouldn’t be in our best interests to move away from what we already have, as we’ve worked too hard over the past 30 years to give it away,” Ms Dean said.
Councillor for Recreation and Sport Glenn Milne said given the status of the MSRSP as the region’s premier sporting venue for decades to come, it was critical to ensure discussions with sporting groups potentially relocating to the facility were explored thoroughly.
“Council certainly respects the MFNC’s decision and looks forward to continuing the strong relationship we have with such a successful and long-running club,” Cr Milne said.
“These are the types of honest and open discussions we need to have with sporting clubs to ensure we get it right with such an important venue, which promises a new era for sport and recreation in our region.”
Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Simon Clemence said given Council’s desire to see one of the three football clubs at Mildura Recreation Reserve relocate to the MSRSP, to address the over-use and congestion of having too many sporting clubs using the one location, Council would commence further discussions with the remaining clubs.
“Council has been briefing Imperials and South Mildura Football Netball Clubs on the progress of the MSRSP since the funding was announced to commence the project,” Cr Clemence said.
“Given the Mildura South area is projected to be the major population growth corridor for our region, the MSRSP and its premier sporting oval represents a significant opportunity for any sporting club given the potential growth in membership and supporter base.
“We are looking forward to having a club based at Mildura South, however this does not impact on our plans for the precinct moving forward.“