Sports precinct put to the test

June 06, 2018

The Victorian Country Junior Football Championships will test the Shepparton Sports Precinct’s parking facilities this weekend, following a run of parking issues in recent weeks and months.

Shepparton is hosting a sporting extravaganza this long weekend with more than 1000 young soccer enthusiasts in town for the Victorian Country Junior Football Championships.

It will be a test of recent parking issues, but Greater Shepparton City Council’s tourism and major events team leader Anthony Nicolaci has made assurances the sports precinct will cope with the influx.

‘‘This weekend there will be enough parking, we’ll be opening up the WB Hunter Reserve,’’ he said.

Sixty-nine junior teams — boys and girls aged 10 to 15 — will compete.

Teams from Albury, Bendigo, Ballarat, Cobram, Geelong, Gippsland, Latrobe Valley, Mildura and Warrnambool will compete for first place against a swarm of locals.

Mr Nicolaci said the event would generate a small boom for the Shepparton economy.

‘This will be a real economic boost, we estimated over $1million,’’ he said.

Visiting players, parents, coaches and assistants would pour cash into the accommodation, hospitality and retail sectors, Mr Nicolaci said.

‘‘It really links in well with all the strategic investments we’ve made,’’ he said.

‘‘Hosting events like these really cements our reputation as a regional events sports destination and is a key part of our strategy to grow sports tourism.

‘‘It’s also a great showcase of what a great city we have to live in.’’

The competition will not conflict with regular matches during the long weekend break.

The ability of the precinct to cope with parking will be a focus, following issues in recent weeks.

After complaining about the level of illegal parking, council recently issued parking tickets to numerous visitors, stirring a groundswell of complaints.

Parents and volunteers using the precinct at the new football field ends have complained loudly about inadequate parking.

Two parking inspectors were forced to flee two Saturdays ago as a result of public anger when issuing tickets.

Last Saturday, more temporary parking was unlocked, but many vehicles were still parked illegally.

The unsealed and largely-grassed WB Hunter Reserve’s ability to soak up extra traffic may be impeded by wet weather forecast for Friday and Saturday.

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