Port Phillip Council’s $2 million redevelopment of North Port Oval was officially kicked off on Saturday (20 April) with the first games on the new surface.
Following Council’s investment, the popular Port Melbourne oval’s surface can now withstand heavy rain. Fencing and players’ benches are also part of the improvements, along with six new turf cricket wickets.
Mayor Dick Gross said the major upgrade is a win for the Port Melbourne Football Club and Port Melbourne Cricket Club, which have played there since their inception in the 1870s.
“We shared our community and the clubs’ disappointment when soil and drainage issues resulted in the oval being deemed unusable for some scheduled VFL games last year,” Cr Gross said.
“It’s great to be celebrating this exciting new chapter in North Port Oval’s history together as the grounds can now accommodate current – and future – demand for years to come,” he said.
“This is also a great outcome for the many community members who enjoy cheering on players at football matches or enjoying the oval themselves for a hit of cricket or a stroll.”
Cr Gross thanked AFL Victoria, engaged by Council to deliver the works, for the great result.
Council brought forward funding allocated for the redevelopment so the grounds would be ready for the 2019 season.
Previous investment by Council at North Port Oval includes a $2.6 million contribution to a modern new administration and function room building, refurbishment and repainting of the historic Norm Goss Grandstand, change room upgrades to meet VFL match venue standards and meeting and medical rooms. This 2015 upgrade was also supported by the Port Melbourne Football Club, Victorian Government and AFL Victoria.
Cr Gross said as demand for sporting venues is increasing, Council is continuing to invest in infrastructure to support access for everyone.
“North Port Oval, close to the new growing community at Fishermans Bend, is a much-loved historic venue. Investing in its grounds and facilities will allow it to continue playing an important role in our City’s sporting heritage for future generations.”