Waratah Reserve lights up

The old timber light-post in Waratah Reserve, home to Doveton SC. Picture: SUPPLIED.

By Sahar Foladi

After more than 20 years in the dark, Waratah Reserve finally has proper lighting to host matches at night.

Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams announced that the home to Doveton Soccer Club scored $250,000 towards lighting upgrades.

“Congratulations to Doveton Soccer Club – this boost will go a long way to support the growing number of people, young and old, keen to get involved in local sport and recreation,” Ms Williiams said.

The grant includes the installation of four poles with LED lighting, upgrades to cabling and power supply to light up the main pitch at the Eumemmerring-based reserve.

Ms Williams acknowledged City of Casey for its commitment and financial contribution to the project.

“It’s a great example of how the Andrews Labor Government is making sport and recreation more accessible, welcoming and inclusive for all Victorians,” Ms Williams said.

Initiatives like this were about levelling the playing field, creating jobs, stimulating local economies, and improving the health, wellbeing, and social outcomes for Victorian communities, she said.

Doveton Soccer Club president Daniel Mcminimee has been with the club for 25 years now, starting off as a player-coach.

“(The upgrade) has been much appreciated by everybody in the club.

“I’ve been involved on the committee for 20 years now and this is the best bit of news that we’ve had.”

Mr Mcminimee said the club would be able to finally host night games at Waratah Reserve.

“We had to play several cup games away from Doveton or hand over to the other club when we had won the right to host it, simply because we had no lights to play the game under.”

A few years ago, the pavilion expanded from two to four change rooms to cater for girls teams. Mr Mcminimee was hoping for further improvements given the club is more than 50 years strong.

“We’re the highest Club in the City of Casey at senior level.

“There’s no other Club higher than us so I just hope that we can get some new refurbishments in the club, get some works done on the ground so that we can play and compete at top level.”

A 2020 report by KPMG commissioned by Sport and Recreation Victoria put an annual value of $7 billion on the economic, social and health benefits of community sport and active recreation infrastructure in Victoria.

The Victorian Budget 2022-’23 provided an additional $88 million for new and improved community sports infrastructure and programs to boost participation in local sports.