THE member for Indi Sophie Mirabella has offered Wodonga Bulldogs a glimmer of hope on the long overdue upgrade of their Martin Park changerooms and grandstand.
Mrs Mirabella made an impromptu visit to the Bulldogs’ final-round home game against Lavington on Saturday.
The biggest threat to her grip in Indi, independent Cathy McGowan, was also present, at the Bulldog’s Beyond Blue luncheon.
The Bulldogs have so far failed to win local and state funding to improve facilities considered some of the worst in the Ovens and Murray league.
They did not seek to host a final this season due to the poor state of their playing surface.
Mrs Mirabella did not promise cash, but pledged to work on finding funding for the upgrade if she was re-elected.
“I watched a friend’s son play,” Mrs Mirabella said yesterday. “I spent time in the outer, had a canteen lunch and was shown part of the changerooms.
“The facilities are dilapidated and I would like to assist as part of a Coalition government.”
The AFL’s community facilities manager Ken Gannon said he was shocked at the poor state of the centre at a recent inspection.
Martin Park funding is not on the Wodonga Council’s radar, even though consultants’ reports in 2003 and 2007 said the changerooms and grandstand should be redeveloped or replaced “as a priority”.
The council is focusing on its Baranduda Fields project.
Mrs Mirabella said while there was no master plan for redevelopment, “not all of our grants programs have been released”.
“It would be premature to pluck a figure out of the air,” she said.
Bulldogs president Richard Bence was unaware Mrs Mirabella would be at the game, but welcomed her interest in the venue.
“I was really surprised she did attend,” he said.
“We need to do something with the grandstand and changerooms.
“We also need to look at the whole issue of access within the ground.”