Local MP calls for State Government funding for little athletics track

Bayswater MP Jackson Taylor with local athletics club members launching his petition. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Parker McKenzie

A local MP is asking locals to sign his petition for State Government investment into Knox Athletics Track, which could turn it into one of the best facilities in the state according to the Little Athletics Centre president.

Bayswater MP Jackson Taylor has launched a campaign tith the support of local clubs who use the facility asking for the Victorian State Government to fund further upgrades to the ageing Knox Park track on Bunjil Way, Knoxfield.

President of Knox Park Athletics Centre David Kearsley said while Knox City Council has committed to funding an upgrade to the facility, with the support of the state government “we can turn the track into one of the best tracks in the eastern suburbs.”

“Other than Lakeside Stadium, we’re the only other track in Melbourne that’s got a camera base timing system,” he said.

“It was all installed about 15 years ago, around the same time the track was upgraded, so those cameras are coming to the end of their serviceable life. The funding Jackson is talking about we’d use to purchase new cameras from America and get the facilities up to date.”

In Knox City Council’s proposed 2022-23 budget, $3 million has been allocated for “reactive track renewal”, $382,000 for lighting upgrades and $96,000 for a shade sail at the Knox Athletics Track facility.

Mr Taylor raised potentially funding upgrades to the facilities in State Parliament, with upgrades to the field, amenities, lighting and relaying the track as priorities. Local little athletics clubs like Boronia Bolters and Knoxfield use the facilities regularly.

Mr Taylor said he knows a lot of locals have fond memories of the local athletics track and it is clear it is well-loved.

“One thing that has stood out from conversations I’ve had with Knox Council and local clubs is the need for better and upgraded facilities here,” he said.

“I’m really proud of our ripper local athletics clubs, and I’m keen to see that the State Government continues to play its part in backing them in with the facilities they deserve.”

Mr Kearsley said the track was built to service schools in Knox, but the facilities have a huge number of athletes competing regularly at the track including from places like Xavier College in Berwick.

“The reason is because we’ve got a bigger grandstand and we can accommodate about 700 people in the grandstand alone,” he said.

“This year we had about 335 athletes who competed in track and field across the summer season, so we are the largest centre in the eastern suburbs.”

Mr Kearsley said funding further funding could be used for a scoreboard where times from the camera system are displayed, with many secondary schools using camera-based timing during athletics events.

Mr Taylor’s petition can be found at www.jacksontaylor.com.au/campaigns/back-in-knox-athletics