Barellan will push to host league grand finals and attract more tourism events to the district with the grand opening of a new $610,000 sports pavilion on April 27.
The pavilion at the Barellan Sportsground includes netball changerooms that have been touted as the best in the Farrer Football and Netball League.
The new pavilion, measuring 315 square metres, replaces two ageing brick toilet blocks affected by structural issues. It has been finished in time for the opening matches of the season and will form a multi-use complex for community activities, schools, sporting organisations, festivals and events. The new pavilion complements the existing building built in 2009 and housing the canteen, storage room, amenities and timekeepers box.
Barellan Two Blues Junior Football and Netball Club president Roger Evans said the main focus of the new building was gender equality and accessibility.
He said the AFL facility guidelines for gender equality were used in the design. The pavilion includes male and female umpire rooms, purpose built netball change rooms, ambient toilets, visitors and home team football change rooms.
“Within those rooms there is stretcher access with male and female strapping rooms either side,” Mr Evans said.
Building started in mid November using tradespeople from Barellan and Leeton.
Mr Evans said two years of planning had gone into the project.
“Initially, when the Two Blues moved to the Farrer League we identified the facilities were not compliant, and with the increase in football, netball and passive recreation we had to upgrade the facilities,’’ he said. “Three years ago we come up with a rough floor plan, and from there we sourced funding.
“We were unsuccessful until the Stronger Communities program came in with $269,000, we sourced other ideas including iron cladding and prefab but those options were not going to be sustainable.
“We decided to push harder and seek other grant opportunities – AFL got on board with $41,000, Cricket NSW contributed $25,000 and $185,000 from ClubGrants.
“The total build, including Narrandera Shire Council’s contribution, is $610,000 with a contingency of $20,000 on top.
“Our project group comprised representatives of each user group so it has been a big commitment from the community as well.
“It’s not just for sport but provides facilities for disaster relief and emergency services.’’
Mr Evans said the pavilion was a big win for the rural community during a time of severe drought.
“To have somewhere green for people to go to play sport is a real mental and physical benefit,’’ he said. “We had no rainfall through winter at all and we struggled to keep it green all year.’’
Mr Evans said Barellan would bid to host major fixtures on the junior and senior sporting calendar, including the ProTen Community Cup. He said having an alternative facility to the showground would allow more festivals and events to be held at Barellan.
“To have the greener facilities and the ability to cater for a big crowd is definitely a big win.’’