Caroline Springs sports clubs are feeling the strain of a lack of stadiums, with one club’s members being forced to travel to nearby Brimbank for training.
With 750 players and 65 teams, Caroline Springs Blue Devils Basketball Club, which plays in the Keilor Junior Basketball Association, was hoping this year to book out three courts over six days at the Caroline Springs Leisure Centre.
Instead, Melton council has cut back the club’s hours (from five days to three), granting them access for training on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The Little Devils program has been moved from Saturday to Sunday.
The Futsal Association has booked out Mondays, the Caroline Springs Basketball Association Tuesdays and the Netball Association Wednesdays.
Blue Devils Basketball Club secretary Ben Collier said junior players were being shuffled around to courts in nearby municipalities at the eleventh hour; being forced to squeeze onto courts at the Caroline Springs Leisure Centre – with teams training on only a quarter of court space – or training outside “in this heat”. “Melton council has been a great stakeholder and we’ve had a great relationship over 10 years, but we’re frustrated,” Mr Collier said.
“We’re trying to understand how and why it happened. We’re trying to have kids be healthy and fit, learn some social skills and get them active and learn competitive sport.”
Caroline Springs Basketball Association president Andrew Henry said he was feeling the club’s pain, but the two-hour booking on Tuesdays were imperative to growing the association. “We can’t have a competition if we don’t have court space, and that’s the reason we’ve requested Tuesday nights,” he said.
“We’ve got 42 teams now. We were also hoping to get Monday night, but we didn’t.”
Melton council recreation and youth manager Troy Scoble said the council had worked hard with clubs to manage the allocation.
He said many groups were requesting additional space, including the Caroline Springs Basketball Association’s senior competition, which is full. “Council is also planning construction of two additional courts to provide more opportunities for residents.”