Urgent plea on netball needs

Kyneton Football Netball Club players, Darby Kelly, Miriam McIntyre and Loryn Savoia, are urging the council to help the club get their facilities up to code.

Kyneton netballers have made an urgent and desperate plea for action to bring their facilities up to code.

Last week, Kyneton Football Netball Club secretary, Vinitha Pinto, made an appeal for funding in Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s 2022/23 budget.

“The netball courts we have in Kyneton are not as per code and for the last few years we’ve been consciously attesting to the league that our courts are not compliant. My question is: how long is too long?

“This is not a wishlist or a want that our club has but a desperate plea and an urgent need to take action,” she told councillors.

The club is seeking $30,000 in the budget for a plan to develop a female-friendly pavilion and upgraded netball courts at the Kyneton Showgrounds.

Ms Pinto said the current facilities were not meeting needs and were a key factor in encouraging female participation.

“At present, our females are changing in a pavilion that is unsatisfactory and is a significant deterrent to the future growth opportunities of female participation,” she said.

“It’s basically a shed with an oak tree inside. There’s one toilet in it. Half of the floor is concrete, the other half is dirt. There is a frame of a cubicle but you cannot shower in it as it’s not connected to anything.

“Unless we do this details design-work now, we cannot seek the funding we need from federal and state government, and we do not want to miss the boat again.”

Through its junior and senior netballers, women’s football team and FIDA, the club has about 217 female players. The need for upgraded player facilities doubles for home games.

Netball director for the club Loryn Savoia said growing that figure and hosting other clubs from the Bendigo league were a challenge.

“It’s absolutely downright embarrassing. Clubs do not want to come to Kyneton to play their weekly game of netball. It’s disgraceful,” she said.

“There is not a single club within our league that I have seen that has comparable facilities – in the state of ours.

“Attracting and retaining players is a significant issue due to our facilities. We don’t have enough court space to sustain our players as it is, let alone growth, which we hope to have in the future. We simply don’t have the basic facilities like a changeroom.”

Kyneton Netball Football Club’s budget submission to the council is one of 65 that will considered before the final budget is adopted later this month.