Broadmeadows’ Seabrook Reserve will become the home of rugby league in Victoria and the NRL’s women’s league as part of a major revamp of the park.
But the decision has angered Broadmeadows residents who say they have not been consulted about the plans.
Hume council adopted its Seabrook Reserve master plan late last month, unveiling plans to include the NRL’s state training and community centre at the Goulburn Street site.
A draft master plan for the reserve did not include the centre.
The state government allocated $12 million to the training and community centre in the 2018-19 budget but it was originally planned for nearby Johnstone Street Reserve.
Hume council corporate services director Daryl Whitfort said investigations found Johnstone Street Reserve was not suitable for the centre, leading the council to discuss the possibility of using Seabrook Reserve with NRL Victoria and local league side Northern Thunder, who are based at the reserve.
Mr Whitfort said the council consulted with stakeholders who would be directly impacted by the potential inclusion of the NRL centre at Seabrook Reserve.
However, Broadmeadows Progress Association spokeswoman Sonja Rutherford said the council should have consulted the entire community about its plan.
“This is a massive change that was made in secret. No one in the community knew anything about it,” she said. “If it is such a good deal, why did they hide it from residents?”
The training centre will result in the development of four pitches at the reserve, three of which will be available to the community outside of matches and training sessions. There is currently one and half pitches at the reserve.
It is not known how long the reserve will be leased to NRL Victoria, however the centre will be built at no cost to the council.
NRL Victoria general manager Brent Silva said the centre would allow the organisation to deliver more extensive community programs and would provide more young people with the opportunity to follow their rugby league dreams.