The town’s sporting clubs were pleased as punch on Monday morning, when the state government announced more than $1 million funding for sporting projects throughout the Junee Shire Council.
Part of the funding package will be used to transform Laurie Daley Oval, which will be resurfaced and will receive new drainage and irrigation systems, male and female change-rooms, referee rooms, and public toilet facilities.
Junee Diesels president Simon Vanzanten said the funding package would deliver some desperately needed upgrades to Laurie Daley Oval, which had garnered a particularly bad reputation throughout the region in recent years.
“It's been pretty embarrassing actually – I know that none of our local and away teams would even shower in the dressing sheds, and the referees would complain if they were sent to our fields,” Mr Vanzanten said.
“The oval is looking pretty dire – they reckon the grandstands were built in the 20s or 30s, and it’s been condemned for a very long time now, so this funding is very well needed.”
Mr Vanzanten said he knew the funding would deliver excellent results to not only the football club but the whole community.
“This is a massive draw card for the whole Junee community and it will be a massive thing financially – now, the Riverina Schoolboys Carnival will be a great show piece for Junee,” he said.
“We also never had girls change-rooms before now, and it’s a sign of the times and how involved girls are in sports now that they deserve their own change-room with some privacy away from the boys.
“Last year, we added the Riverina School Girls league tag, which was massive, and now with these new facilities and change-rooms we’ll be able to attract even more people to the town.”
The $1 million funding package also extended to Illabo, where the tennis courts and clubhouse will be refurbished with disability access amenities and a new community meeting and recreation space will be built.
Junee Shire Council deputy mayor Matthew Austin said the funding announcement would revitalise the region’s sporting scene.
“This will really give a new level of professionalism for the people who come and play here,” Mr Austin said.
“People do come from far and wide, and it makes it a difference if they play on a top quality surface.”
Junee’s $1,075,195 funding package comes as part of the NSW government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, which will deliver $200 million to regional communities around the state.