By Melissa Grant
LOOKING BACK TO OCTOBER 24, 2007
Footballers, netballers and cricketers across the shire have plenty to cheer about with the Officer Recreation Reserve set for a multimillion dollar overhaul.
Civic leaders last week approved the master plan for the addition of a second oval, five netball courts, two tennis courts, a family and youth recreation area, car parking and a state of the art pavilion at a cost of around $5 million.
The Cardinia Council has committed $700,000 to the project and has applied for a Federal Government grant of $800,000 to assist with building the first stage of the pavilion.
Central Ward councillor Brett Owen said it was great to finally see the development coming to fruition, 10 years after the purchase of the land and several rezoning battles.
“It’s a fantastic project; people are really excited about it,” he said.
Cr Owen said there was a significant need for the refurbishment as the ROC football and Officer cricket clubs had been forced to play away from the ground and even had to turn kids away in recent times.
Cr Ronald agreed the upgrade was overdue.
“It is probably one of the most over-utilised reserves apart from the Pakenham one no doubt,” he said.
Officer Recreation Reserve committee of management president Rob Porter, who has been involved with the reserve for more than 50 years, said the development was a “lifelong dream come true”.
“We’re very happy that it’s finally taking shape,” he said.
“It has made our struggle over the years all worthwhile.”
Mr Porter said the master plan had been on display during the last two months and that the overall response, particularly from young people, had been encouraging.
“A lot of people have been looking at it and school kids, not particularly teenagers, have been very interested,” he said.
The Officer Recreation Reserve has long been a family affair for Mr Porter – with his parents, in-laws, wife, children and grand-children all playing various sports there at numerous stages.
Mr Porter said the rejuvenation would help ensure children in Officer could continue playing sport locally.
“We love Officer and we love to think our kids won’t be disadvantaged compared to kids in bigger towns,” he said.