mundaring hard courts too hard

 The combined sports of the Mundaring Hardcourts Association are campaigning hard for a new, year-round facility.

Bev Elliott is a ”Basketball Tragic.” At least that’s how her husband Lance describes her. Bev’s a volunteer at the Mundaring Hardcourts running the office/ kiosk, the game timing, the back board change-overs and calling intervals and change times over the PA. She’s been here from 6 o’clock to 10 o’clock two nights a week for twenty years. And she’s not the only one.

Bev’s passion for basketball is the only reason Lance Elliott can think of for becoming involved in the latest campaign to improve facilities at Mundaring hardcourts. “I don’t know why these people do it,” he says perplexed, referring to the rusted on army of dedicated volunteers.

The Mundaring Hardcourts are a busy place on a Friday night. During the summer months (the dry months)  there are 350 games a week. “If you add up all the players, refs, family supporters and volunteers”, says Lance, “There’s well over 6000 people using these courts every week. Basketball, hockey and netball crowd the courts most weeks.

It’s a frenetic place. At six o’clock the car park boils with kids, cars, families and bouncing balls. Chuck mans the main gate, he’s one of the familiar faces, volunteering two nights a week taking entry money and saying g’day from his little tin hut, about a metre square. Chuck’s tin box is primitive but he’s grateful enough for it when the weather turns nasty.

The Mundaring Hardcourt Centre might be a grandiose description for something that’s essentially eight plexi-paved tennis courts within a cyclone fence. In the centre, with four courts either side, is the only covered area. It houses a kiosk, toilets, storage, a small change room and offers a covered patio area.

Brad Gray from the Hills Raiders Basketball Association, a basketball veteran, says the centre is operating on the limit. “We’re a very successful association but we have gone as far as we can. SBL [State Basketball League] teams won’t play here because their insurance won’t cover them on these courts. Disabled sports can’t use our courts and our players, who are pretty keenly engaged, develop to a point before we lose them. We don’t just lose them from here, we lose them from the game and from sport in general.

“These clubs have been playing here for over forty years,” says Lance. “That’s forty years of history, honour boards, trophies and paraphernalia. This stuff’s in boxes in people’s sheds. There’s no where to put it.”

This is only the latest campaign to upgrade the complex. There’s been plenty of attempts in the past. This latest effort is the most organised and determined so far. Basketball, hockey and netball associations joined to workshop and clarify the facility requirements and devise a strategy to get things moving, at last. At this point Lance Elliott found himself, somewhat ‘haplessly’ the spokesperson for the campaign. That was a year ago.

Six thousand people, including three thousand young players participating in supervised sport every week, might seem a strange problem? Sure it’s busy, but why shouldn’t a shire sports facility run at capacity?

Lance Elliott is used to making the case: “We have participation of six thousand people a week in the summer months, but we’re up against it. People have to clamber up and down changing heavy backboards in and then out, hockey perimeter guards have to be installed and removed, netball goals installed and removed. It’s all heavy, cumbersome gear and our volunteers aren’t getting any younger. On top of that, parking is overflowing into the bush during game change-over times, the change rooms are far too small to handle the numbers and the court surface causes injuries.”

“We believe that an all weather facility won’t just double participation over time, it has the scope to go way beyond it. We’ll advance our competitions by being able to join more serious leagues and retain our players, offer more codes, run all kinds of sports development programs and workshops and at last be able offer wheel chair and senior sports here.” Fair enough.

Six thousand people per week is an impressive figure. But that’s only the summer months. In winter the numbers slump to a humble five hundred. “The health and social benefits for young and old people engaged and active are obvious,” says Lance, “We’re the only district without an indoor sports centre”.

“Support for an upgrade has been amazing,” he says. “We invite people down to take a look at what happens here, how busy it is. People shake their heads when they see how much we get done with what we have.”

The Local Bendigo Bank, Mundaring Chamber of Commerce, Mundaring Rate Payers Assoc, Shire President Helen Dullard as well as the local police have all been supportive of the upgrade campaign.

“We’re explaining our situation and outlining the reasons why an upgrade is important. On Friday February 8, we’re inviting all the bigwigs down for a sausage and a look around. I’m sure they’ll soon see that we’re on about.”

Upgrade Key points:

All weather facility

4 court indoor facility, fit for purpose to support Basketball, Netball and Night Hockey

Restructured parking

Board court surfaces

Appropriate ammenities

New generation goal / backboard and boundary swap

Increased/ enhanced parking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. A great case put forward for a great cause. We wish you success in achieving what will undoubtedly be a major improvement for the area and the community.

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