Lights up after dark

The launch of six new floodlights at Chewton’s Soldiers Memorial Park on Friday means Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club can now expand its membership and programs.
A large crowd including numerous young soccer players gathered at the park on Friday evening to launch the new floodlights that will now be used for after-dark training by the club up until about 9pm as required.
Hosted by Mount Alexander Shire Council and the CGFC, Friday’s launch coincided with the club’s small-sided session attended by about 100 children who are among the big beneficiaries of the new lighting – six 22-metre tall towers, fitted with 50 lux LED lights.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards did the honours, flicking the switch to officially launch the new system funded with a $170,400 grant from the state government’s World Game Facilities Fund – plus a $78,250 council contribution and the club also pitching in $25,000.
Mayor Cr Bronwen Machin said the new lights would make a big difference in extending training time and growing the club’s competition and social programs for its many male and female players.
The floodlights are also expected to bring benefits for the wider community, providing a safer after-dark environment and opportunities for locals to walk or jog around the field while club activities are in progress.
“It opens up more than half the pitch to be able to be used at night so doubles the amount of space we can use here,” CGFC president Aaron Shooter said.
“Not only does it mean we can train more kids and adults but it gives us opportunity to provide social programs.
“It allows us to expand this small-sided program (for kids aged five to eight) and it gives us much more flexibility to reduce the wear and tear on the ground, which makes it much more usable all year round as well.
“This small-sided program at the moment has been capped by the amount of time and space we have so enabling that extra space means we can probably move this from what is around 100 players at the moment to around 150.”
The club currently has just under 400 active playing members plus another 50 or 60 volunteers – “and growing year on year,” Mr Shooter said.

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