Council bats in favour of cricket facility expansion


By Alesha Capone

An indoor cricket training facility in Truganina will be allowed to expand its patron numbers from five to 40 people after Wyndham council approved the proposal last week.

The council also greenlit plans for the centre, which is located at 27B Apex Drive, to extend its operating hours to 9am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday, and have six staff instead of three.

Town planner Melanie Ellis spoke on behalf of the cricket facility’s applicants at the council meeting.

Ms Ellis said the 12 existing car parks located at the training facility would allow 40 patrons to be onsite at once, as many players would carpool.

The council initially refused the original proposal for the training facility, but the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) approved the application in April.

The VCAT decision only allows for five patrons to attend the centre, at any one time.

A report by Wyndham council officers, presented at last week’s meeting, recommended the council refuse the proposal to extend the training facility’s patron cap and operating hours.

The report said that the cricket centre was located within the Truganina Employment Precinct Structure Plan and that extending the cricket facility’s patron numbers and operating hours would “compromise” the ability of existing industrial operators to function safely.

However, Cr Sahana Ramesh suggested the council approve the centre’s requests to allow “fair and equitable” provision of sports facilities in the area.

In May 2019, VCAT overturned a council decision to refuse a table tennis and badminton centre in Infinity Drive, Truganina, which is located around 600 metres from the cricket facility.

Cr Peter Maynard said he agreed with Cr Ramesh.

“I think it’s only fair that the operator of this particular facility is given the same opportunity to operate at the same level as the one in Infinity Drive,” he said.

A majority of councillors supported Cr Ramesh’s stance, although Cr Jennie Barrera and Cr Heather Marcus disagreed.

Cr Barrera said Apex Drive could be an unsafe location for children who might leave the centre while unaccompanied.

“I don’t know how they can guarantee that children will not leave that site, I don’t think there was any evidence to support that,” she said.