Whittlesea’s future basketball and netball players will not have to leave the municipality to compete, with the council pledging to build a number of new courts over the next 21 years.
Up 16 new indoor sports courts and 28 new or refurbished outdoor netball courts will be built in Whittlesea over the next 10 years, with an additional six indoor courts proposed for construction between 2030 and 2041.
According to the council’s Netball and Basketball Plan 2019-2041, six indoor courts and eight outdoor courts will be built at the Mernda Sports Hub within the next five years.
The council is also planning to build two outdoor courts at Laurimar Primary School, Hazel Glen College, the Whittlesea Showgrounds, Epping Recreation Reserve and Donnybrook’s Olivine estate within the next five years.
Ten indoor courts will be built at Epping Recreation Reserve by 2030, alongside 10 outdoor courts across four sites in Wollert, Epping, Epping North and Mill Park.
The council is proposing to build six courts at Donnybrook Stadium sometime after 2030.
A 2017 Basketball Victoria report revealed Whittlesea has one of the biggest shortfalls in basketball infrastructure in Victoria.
At the time, Basketball Victoria called on the council to deliver four courts at Mernda and 12 courts at Epping North and Wollert by 2031.
The council’s netball and basketball plan said the municipality is home to 7858 registered basketball players, 30 per cent of which travel outside of Whittlesea to play.
There are 1967 netball players registered in Whittlesea, 51 per cent of which play outside the city.
Cr Ricky Kirkham said there had been no investment in indoor sports courts in Whittlesea for close to 30 years.
“The Mill Park Basketball Stadium was the last in the 1991-92 era. Since then, there has been basically no investment in indoor courts,” he said.
“There is a shortfall of courts. [This plan] caters for the demands of families and young people in our growing city.”