12 months from now, the Goulburn Hockey Complex will be unrecognisable.
On Friday, March 26, the Goulburn District Hockey Association turned the first sod on its massive $7 million development, which includes a new world-class water-based playing field, new lighting, a new carpark, new men's and women's changerooms, and more player and public amenities.
GDHA committee member Sharney Fleming was thrilled to have gotten the project, which has been in the works for years, underway.
"It's been a long time coming, and I think our members waited so long with nothing happening, they were getting a bit disgruntled," Fleming said.
"Finally, to actually see that something is happening, the hockey community has become a lot more positive."
The project was financed jointly between the GHDA, the NSW government, and the Goulburn Mulwaree Council. The state government contributed $3,872,000, while council put forward $3,009,000 and the GDHA $200,000.
The new field lighting will be the first aspect of the project to be completed, with construction expected to take place throughout the 2021 winter season. Following that, the new field and carpark will be next on the list, with the majority of the upgrades hopefully completed by this time next year.
Play at Goulburn will be halted for several weeks while the lights are installed, but the association is aiming for that period to coincide with the school holidays to minimise the interruption.
"All going well, if everything is on track ... within 12 months we should be ready to go," Fleming said.
"It will all depend on whether or not we blow out with the budget, but as it stands now we're coming in under budget."
In addition to improving the playing conditions for local players, the GDHA hopes the upgrades will allow Goulburn to host representative tournaments once again.
"Hopefully it'll allow us to get some state championships here," Fleming said.
"Hockey NSW has indicated once we get our fields and that up to standard and upgrade everything, they're more than happy to bring some championships our way.
"We can also hold more carnivals, which we haven't had here for years."
Mayor Bob Kirk said the development will not only benefit Goulburn, but the whole region.
"The Goulburn Region Hockey community, including Crookwell, deserve these high class facilities, and once we have completed the upgrade we will look forward to welcoming some of the best teams in Australia here to Goulburn," Cr Kirk said.
"Couple this with the great indoor venue at the Veolia Arena - Goulburn will be renowned for hosting national hockey events at these great facilities."
The GDHA thanked the Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Member for Goulburn, Wendy Tuckerman, for their contributions to the project.
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