Plans for Docklands sports club
By David Schout
Ron Barassi Snr Park could soon house Docklands’ newest sports club after a group of local volunteers assembled to form a club based on the park’s facilities.
While details remain scarce at this stage, including which sports the club will play, the City of Melbourne revealed to Docklands News that following last year’s community consultation on the park, a community taskforce had begun brainstorming ideas.
“After a well-received engagement and consultation process with the Docklands community, we are pleased to announce a group of dedicated community members has volunteered to form a local sporting club – to be based at Ron Barassi Snr Park,” a council spokesperson said.
“This group will meet from August to begin the formal process to create the club, and will update the community on its progress at an upcoming Docklands Community Forum.”
While it could not confirm yet, the council said soccer and cricket were the likely candidates of sports around which a club would be formed.
Last year, the council conducted surveys with almost 300 residents, workers, business owners and visitors to hear their feedback about the park, which opened in 2015.
Six in 10 (61 per cent) respondents believed there was a need for a local sporting and recreational group based at the park, which is situated on Docklands Drive, below the Bolte Bridge.
Over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) claimed to be “very interested” in being part of a local sport and recreation group based at the grounds, while a further 52 per cent claimed they were “somewhat interested”.
Soccer was the most popular sport among respondents, with 32 per cent citing an interest in playing the world game at the park.
Other outdoor sports nominated among those who were “very interested” in being part of a local sporting group included ultimate frisbee (16 per cent), touch rugby (12 per cent) and AFL 9s (10 per cent).
Since its opening, external clubs have used the park to play organised sport, but no Docklands-based outfit has played at the grounds.
The council has been on record as saying it wants to see the park activated for the local community, and reinforced this recently.
“The City of Melbourne believes a sporting club at Ron Barassi Snr Park will offer great benefits to the wider Docklands community. This has been reinforced by the feedback we’ve received through the engagement and consultation process undertaken via Participate Melbourne,” a council spokesperson said.
Other findings to emerge from the surveys included the fact that 28 per cent of residents did not know the park existed at all.
The council acknowledged they wanted to improve this.
“We will also work closely with the new sporting club to help facilitate further activations and increase awareness of the park.”
Two six-week Mini Roos soccer programs for children have recently been held at the park, with more than 40 children and their families participating in the weekly sessions.
Ron Barassi Snr Park is a community recreational and sporting facility that features a sports field, community pavilion, playground, barbeque facilities and a walking circuit.
The park is named in recognition of Ronald James Barassi Snr, who played for the Melbourne Football Club from 1936-1940 and died in Tobruk, Libya, in 1941 while serving in World War II.