New rowing facilities on the horizon
Strong community support, ideal geographic conditions and a proud history of supporting elite athletes has helped Murray Bridge Rowing Club to land Building Better Regions funding for a $1 million project to establish new clubrooms and five boat sheds on prime real estate on Sturt Reserve. A plan that was decades in the making, rowing clubs throughout South Australia are eager to call the fresh ‘jewel in the crown’ club home, and will bring with them a welcome boost in sporting tourism.
Sheltered water makes Murray Bridge ideal for river rowing, with long distances, on-river training and expansion opportunities setting the area apart.
Rowing SA had already been looking at establishing a regional rowing centre, and cost-benefit analysis saw Murray Bridge come out as the preferred site.
“The stars were aligned,” says Murray Bridge Rowing Club Vice President Chris McRae. “But the funding we’d secured wasn’t enough, and we had no option to extend our existing tenancy,” Chris recalls.
Chris was freshly retired when RDA Chief Executive Jo Podoliak, aware of the club’s predicament, notified her of the first round of Building Better Regions funding.
The application was unsuccessful, as the application wasn’t able to demonstrate any employment boost for the community.
“We’re 100% run by volunteers, so to introduce paid employment outside of the building costs was out of the question.”
While Chris inherently knew the value it would provide to the community, it was Jo who helped put a dollar figure to it on the second round application.
“We had a guaranteed market ready to commit. Clubs wanting to store their boats here and return for regular training.”
“With rowing camps, regattas and club training all considered, the patronage for the region would be significant. We used the .id profiles that the RDA had acquired since our first application, and it helped us get into the nitty gritty of our project’s economic benefits.”
A successful second round application later, and building will be well under way by the end of the year.
Other initiatives successfully supported in the second round of Building Better Regions were the Murray Bridge Learning & Innovation Hub, and Mannum’s All Steamed Up Festival.