By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Athletes are welcoming a proposed $2.5 million rebuild of a deteriorating, hazardous athletics track at Ross Reserve, Noble Park.
The expensive reconstruction will finally tackle the rubber track’s uneven, peeling sections warily avoided by its athletes.
In 2021, two Masters runners broke their arms tripping on loose flapping sections. Both elderly women were hospitalized.
Regional athletics events were no longer being held at the venue, once regarded as one of the region’s best.
Last year, the council repaired a section that was repeatedly closed off due to persistent puddling, even after modest rains.
Springvale Little Athletics spokesperson Teresa Rumpf said the proposal in the City of Greater Dandenong draft 2022-’23 budget would allow athletics to continue at the venue for young people across the region.
“Springvale Little Athletics is excited for the allocation of $2.5 million for the much needed track upgrade.
“This investment in athletics and fitness benefits the clubs and the broader community including casual users and school groups.”
Springvale Masters Athletics club spokesperson Claudio Riga said the rebuild had been a “long journey” of about a decade.
The track was resurfaced in 2012 but “they didn’t put a proper base on it,” Mr Riga says.
“They’ve put in these ‘patchwork’ repairs but it’s been a problem ever since.
“They’d fix up the parts which were splitting and resurface it. Two weeks later the surface was bubbling off.
“This time around they’re doing a complete new track.”
Councillor Sean O’Reilly said the clubs had been patient, with particularly little athletics being “strong and growing” at the venue.
“They could now have a brand new track that will attract even more regional events.”
The track would continue the transformation of the venue, included an upgraded football pavilion and funding for a $2.3 million synthetic soccer pitch.
The council’s draft 2022-’23 budget also provides $860,000 for three electronic scoreboards and renewed lighting on oval 2 and basketball court at Ross Reserve.