Eagle Stadium here to stay after fiery council debate

Despite a marathon and at times fiery debate between Wyndham councillors last Monday night, Eagle Stadium appears here to stay.

The new name for the redeveloped $47 million Werribee Sports and Fitness Centre was the subject of more than an hour of argument as councillors rejected moves to change it to Werribee Sports and Recreation Centre, sell the naming rights to private interests or release confidential documents relating to the naming process.

As first revealed by Star Weekly on April 8, the council has faced a community backlash over its decision to rebadge the centre as Eagle Stadium, a name it claimed was selected after widespread community consultation.

But many of the centre’s user groups claim they were not asked for their views.

Opened in 1978, the Werribee Sports and Fitness Centre, commonly referred to as The Rec Centre, has been Wyndham’s most popular indoor sports centre for almost four decades.

When complete, the revamped stadium will include a 1500-seat show court and 12 courts for sports such as netball, basketball, table tennis and badminton.

It is due to open mid-year.

In his push to rename the stadium as Werribee Sports and Recreation Centre, Harrison ward councillor Glenn Goodfellow said it was crucial the council listened to the community’s concerns.

“There’s no harm in saying, ‘We got it wrong’,” he said.

“We’ve met with the centre’s user groups and heard their concerns and we have to listen. Many people have put their blood, sweat and tears into that centre. We’re often quick to get rid of our heritage, but once it’s gone it’s gone forever.”

Chaffey ward’s Cr Marie Brittan agreed. “We need to carry on the tradition of this facility,” she said. “The Werribee Sports and Recreation Centre is a great fit.”

But fellow Harrison ward’s Cr Bob Fairclough rejected Cr Goodfellow’s claims, suggesting Eagle Stadium was a name that embraced Wyndham’s future.

“With Wyndham’s growth, most of the stadium’s users won’t even have been born yet,” he said. “Eagle Stadium is short and catchy.”

Cr Fairclough went on to say Paris’s Eiffel Tower and New York’s Statue of Liberty didn’t have the names of the cities in which they were located in their titles, but were icons around the world.

Councillors knocked back a push by Cr Adele Hegedich to undertake further community consultation on the centre’s name.

Cr Intaj Khan was thwarted in his bid to sell the centre’s naming rights to private interests, as was Cr Gautam Gupta in his attempt to release the council’s confidential documents over the Eagle Stadium naming process.

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