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New soccer pitch scores a goal for participation

New soccer pitch scores a goal for participation

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Soccer players have reason to celebrate after the unveiling of a new $2.25 million synthetic pitch at the Harvest Home Road Recreation Reserve in Epping. 

The FIFA-accredited pitch replaces one installed back in 2008 that no longer met the needs of tenant Whittlesea Ranges Football Club or the wider community. 

Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP joined with Council on Wednesday, 20 December to officially open the pitch. 

The redevelopment has delivered a new synthetic playing surface with improved drainage, fencing and the latest in LED sports lighting technology. 

The synthetic turf is made from 100 per cent Australian yarn manufactured in Victoria, while the pitch’s rubber underlay is made from end-of-life tyre granules. 

City of Whittlesea CEO Craig Lloyd said that although the municipality already had one of the highest soccer participation rates in the state, there was still room for growth. 

“The investment in top-class facilities like this in Epping will help attract more people to the sport,” he said. 

“Whether they’re people just looking to have a kick with friends, or dreaming of glittering representative careers, they will be catered for.” 

Council’s Active Whittlesea Strategy 2019-2028 identified a lack of suitable facilities as a significant barrier to female participation in organised sport. 

“I know Whittlesea Ranges FC is committed to growing both its female and junior programs and this new pitch will definitely help with that,” Craig said. 

The City of Whittlesea contributed $1.75 million towards the project, while Sport and Recreation Victoria made $500,000 available from its World Game Facilities Fund. 

“Council is proud to be investing in the health and wellbeing of its residents and we are grateful to the Victorian Government for its support in this important project,” Craig said.