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Ballarat’s infrastructure to receive significant investment ahead of Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games

Ballarat’s infrastructure to receive significant investment ahead of Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games
October 14, 2022

Mars Stadium along with the proposed athletics facility and village are among the infrastructure projects which will share in up to $200 million funding delivered from the Victorian Government to prepare Ballarat for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The Victorian Government has announced the following investments:

  • Eureka Stadium Investment: Up to $150 million to upgrade Eureka Stadium, including an additional 5000 permanent seats, improved accessibility and 18,000 temporary seats
  •  Ballarat Train Station Upgrade: $50 million to upgrade the Ballarat Train Station to make it accessible for people of all abilities.  Works will include passenger lifts on both platforms and a connecting pedestrian overpass.
  • Athletics facility: A new permanent athletics facility will be built on the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society (Showgrounds) site (south of Eureka Stadium) to serve as a warmup track during the Commonwealth Games.
  • Marathon: The Commonwealth Games marathon events will be run in Ballarat.
  • Athlete Village: The athlete village will be built on the Latrobe Street saleyards site.
  • Mountain Bike Racing: The addition of mountain bike racing as a sport at Victoria 2026, is to be held at Creswick Trails, with competitors housed at the Ballarat athlete village. City of Ballarat and Hepburn Shire Council worked in partnership to advocate for the event.

Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said the magnitude of the investment was extremely welcome,  advising “this investment will help ensure our city is ready for the tens of thousands of visitors expected in Ballarat each day during the Games.

“From a Council perspective we are particularly pleased that this investment will help fast track delivery of a number of Council’s long term strategic infrastructure priorities, including development of a world class sporting precinct, upgrade of the Ballarat train station and regeneration and revitalisation of the Latrobe Street saleyards site.”

“We’ve been working closely with the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Games officials for months to ensure the Games leave a long-term and enduring legacy for Ballarat. 

“This is an outstanding result for our city and for the region more broadly. We can look forward to a bounce in our local economy in the lead up to Victoria 2026, particularly in the construction sector, as a pipeline of Commonwealth Games-related projects are delivered.”

“It has the potential to be an economic win for the next few years as the Victorian Government invests in works to provide the necessary sporting, transport, housing and social infrastructure to ensure Ballarat is Commonwealth Games-ready.

“Add to that the excitement and drama of two weeks of elite sporting action, accompanied by an influx of international and Australian sports fans, and we can expect a massive boost for our visitor economy sector during the event - for restaurants, bars and cafes, for accommodation providers and for our key tourist attractions.”

“The lead up, investment in and delivery of a successful Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games in Ballarat will have positive local impacts for years to come”.

Commenting that he was delighted City of Ballarat’s strong advocacy had helped secure the Victoria 2026 marathon events for Ballarat, Mayor Moloney noted "our city has a long and proud history of achievement in distance running, from community competition through to elite level competitors.

“We can make sure it is the best spectator event Victoria can offer. Sport is a way of life in Ballarat and local fans, including those from around Western Victoria will embrace the chance to experience a world class event on their own streets, at no cost.

“Whether it's the tree-lined boulevard of Sturt Street, our rich array of 19th century heritage buildings in Lydiard Street, Lake Wendouree, or our Botanical Gardens, there will be excellent viewing opportunities for spectators.

“The streets of Ballarat will make an outstanding backdrop for broadcast, giving people around the world the chance to see the best of our city when they tune in to watch the marathon events.”

Mayor Moloney said an important part of the legacy of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games would be the impact it has on young athletes, particularly those with aspirations to compete at the highest level, also explaining “I’ve no doubt the chance to see elite athletes competing in Ballarat during the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games will inspire the next generation of emerging athletic talent. We know that several of Ballarat’s best young athletes are training hard in the hope of competing in front of a home crowd at Victoria 2026.”

Mayor Moloney said inclusion of the mountain bike racing program at Creswick Trails was evidence that the excitement and experience of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games would expand beyond the four key hubs to provide opportunities and benefits to multiple regional areas, adding "we've been proud to partner with Hepburn Shire in advocating for the inclusion of a mountain biking program in the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games, and for the events to be held at Creswick Trails. Mountain biking will be a fantastic addition to the program, ensuring the Games appeal to a broader and younger audience.

“Having the event staged in Creswick will provide a significant economic boost to the region and provide an incredible athlete experience in the Ballarat athlete village.”

City officials also welcomed news that the Victorian Government has chosen the former Latrobe Street saleyards site as the location for the athlete village, with Mayor Moloney going on to say “the construction of the athlete village on this site and its later conversion to social, affordable and private housing also presents a wonderful opportunity for many existing Latrobe Street businesses."

Images: Mars Stadium (top), Creswick Trails mountain biking (middle) and the Victorian Government has chosen the former Latrobe Street saleyards site as the location for the athlete village (below).

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