Basketballers need a fourth court at Murray Bridge Showground

The local association has asked the federal government to contribute $1.9 million towards a major upgrade.

This story has been made free to read under Murray Bridge News’ editorial policy on advocacy. Please consider supporting our work by subscribing.

The ball is in the federal government’s court when it comes to improving Murray Bridge’s basketball facilities.

Murray Bridge Basketball Association and its 550 players are waiting to hear whether they will get funding for a new show court at the city’s showground.

The city’s existing basketball facilities – including two courts in a building known as “the chook shed” – are outdated and unsafe, as a review pointed out last year.

They are also inadequate for the association’s needs.

Its winter season, which finished with grand finals on Sunday, featured four teams in each of nine competitive grades, with games scheduled on every night of the week to fit everyone in.

An annual carnival every October takes up all three courts at the showground, plus courts at Unity College and Tailem Bend Primary School, for four days and nights.

The association has asked the federal government for $1.9 million towards the planned $3.9 million upgrade: the fourth court, plus a new office and reception area.

It’s not a done deal yet, but federal MP Tony Pasin said on Monday that he had been lobbying decision-makers and hoped for a positive result.

“The current stadium doesn’t comply with Basketball SA standards for hosting higher-level events and does not have appropriate facilities to encourage female participation in sport,” he said.

“It’s holding the sport back at a regional level.

“I can see that this will make a real difference to the community.”

Association president James Vowles said he was grateful for Mr Pasin’s support.

“We feel our community would benefit greatly from a multi-use facility and community space which can be used and enjoyed by all ages and abilities, including children, families, youth, community groups, sporting associations and those with special needs,” he said.

The association’s Matt Mundy argued that basketball deserved the funding.

It was played both in summer and winter, by both seniors and juniors, male and female – what other sport could say the same thing?

An announcement about the federal Building Better Regions Fund is expected within weeks.

If successful, the remaining funds for the project would come from the Murray Bridge council and/or the state government.

In the long run, a second stage of works would bring the current courts up to a better standard, and could make the facility useable by other sports, too.

You can help keep local stories like this one free for everyone to read. Subscribe to Murray Bridge News today and support your independent, locally owned news service, plus get access to exclusive stories you won’t find anywhere else, for just $5.50 a month.