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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1684

Mr SYMON (Deakin) (16:35): I would like to relate to the House the opening of a wonderful community facility that I attended on 19 November last year, the Heathmont Pavilion—of course in the suburb of Heathmont—in the electorate of Deakin. The official opening of a new pavilion was a great turnaround for sporting clubs and the ground as well. It is used by both the Heathmont Baseball Club and the Heathmont Baptist Cricket Club. It is probably the only example I know of a local sportsground shared by two sports such as those. That is done because one uses it during summer and the other during winter, so rather than football and cricket this one is baseball and cricket.

In August 2009 I was contacted by Mark Le Grew on behalf of the Heathmont Baseball Club. He invited me to come and look at their facilities and to learn a little bit more about their sporting club and the facilities they were using at that time. Although the ground is located next to a main road—Canterbury Road—you would not know from that road that there is a club there. It is hidden behind a big row of trees. I took up the offer and visited the site in September 2009, when I met Mark Le Grew and Councillor Paul Macdonald from Maroondah City Council. I also teamed up with Shaun Leane who is a metropolitan member of the Legislative Council. We looked at the old building that had been constructed way back—many years ago—and that had not had any work done on it since 1981. It also had a very big problem complying with current regulations for disability access and even the provision of toilets for anyone other than males.

The rooms were particularly dilapidated. There was only one change room inside the building. On the day I was there, it rained and, on cue, the roof leaked, the wind blew and the galvanised iron roof started flapping around above my head. I pretty much made up my mind at that time that this was one of the worst community buildings I had been in. It did not take a lot more to convince me after that. However, I then looked at the food-serving facilities, canteen facilities and the toilet facilities. 'Agricultural' is probably too kind a word for some of those. They had just been used and used and used and the building had certainly passed its use-by-date. There was a common area for the change room, which prevented the clubs from having womens teams, due to a lack of segregated changing areas. It really was an eyesore. Funding of $246,000 from the federal Labor government and a capital grant from the Maroondah Council of $687,000 means there is now a brand-new facility there that anyone in the community can use and be very proud to use.

The new building has a wonderful deck out the front with massive bifold doors. It is a very good viewing area, whereas the old playing field viewing area was pretty much a piece of tin over the top of a small brick and concrete building. The new building is also air-conditioned, which means functions are quite pleasant. Once upon a time they certainly were not.

Unusually for Maroondah Council, this was the first building built using prefabricated concrete tilt slab walls. I know this is very common in commercial projects, but it was the first one done by the council. It was done this way for both speed and cost.

Not only the clubs use the room and the ground but the whole community. It is very important that in outer suburban areas, such as Heathmont, community facilities are renewed. When they were put there originally they were great, but they decline over time.

There were other people there to help me open it, including the then mayor of Maroondah City Council, Tony Dib, councillors Natalie Thomas and Paul Macdonald. It was a wonderful day to recognise this great new facility.

The Heathmont Baseball Club has produced many olympic representatives; 25 Australian representatives and currently has two players on full college scholarships in the USA; and two players on professional contracts, one being Australia's highest profile baseballer, Atlanta Braves pitcher, Peter Moylan, who signed professionally while he was still at the club at Heathmont. That is a great wrap for a club that is local and for a sport that is not known by everyone. It certainly now has a great place to call home.