Last week’s Stawell Gift saw the biggest crowds pile into Central Park in over 10 years, but Stawell Athletic Club president Neil Blizzard said more infrastructure was needed if Stawell wanted to jointly host the 2030 Commonwealth Games.
It followed Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Tony Driscoll’s comments Stawell had the potential, especially after the success of this year’s Stawell Gift.
“We would need an oval like the MCG or the SCG,” Mr Blizzard said.
“We would need facilities to be built, at this stage we don’t have the infrastructure or the accomodation or transport.”
But Cr Driscoll said the region would be considerably more accessible to the public than it was today.
“We are talking about 2030, which is a fair way off,” he said.
“You can imagine the scenario with the evolution of facilities and services by then, especially when planning for a specific event or events.
“When it comes to transport the Western Highway would be fully duplicated to Stawell and there would be a reliable passenger rail service between Melbourne and Horsham.”
Cr Driscoll said having the imagination to work in with developments was crucial.
“To pinch a famous quote, it’s not about asking why, but asking why not?” he said.
“Who’s to say we couldn’t schedule, for example, a major cycling event in the Grampians around the same time the athletes are in Australia?
“We’ve already seen how that can work in Halls Gap. Or perhaps we could pursue other sporting events.”
Mr Blizzard said the Stawell Gift proved the small rural town could organise and host a world-class sporting event.
“This Stawell Gift had incredible numbers, it was clearly our best result in over 10 years,” he said.
“The running was fantastic and close and the success of the event proves we can run and organise a world-class event.”
Greater Shepparton City Council was leading a campaign, which would see 2030 Commonwealth Games events shared between Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Mildura, Wodonga and Warrnambool.
And maybe Stawell?