The Western Bulldogs will have a second home at Braybrook’s Skinner Reserve under a $3 million project with Maribyrnong council.
The council last week voted to upgrade the reserve near the AFL club’s home turf at VU Whitten Oval, for the Dogs to train on about 12 hours a week.
The reserve’s revamp will be similar in size and scale to Marvel Stadium and the MCG and includes reconstruction of the field, a two-lane running track, lighting for night games, new fencing and interchange benches, AFL-standard goalposts and protective netting.
The Dogs and the council will each pay for half the upgrade and about $50,000 in ongoing annual maintenance.
Bulldogs’ chief executive Ameet Bains said Skinner Reserve was an important project for the club on many levels.
“We are about to embark on a major redevelopment of our own facilities at VU Whitten Oval and for a period of time we will be unable to use our oval while significant works are completed,” he said.
“To have access to a high-quality training oval, which is close to our home base and has historical significance to our people and fans, is a fantastic outcome.
“An upgraded Skinner Reserve will also be a winner for the community.
“It will allow us to have a much greater presence with our suite of impactful community programs, helping us to connect even further with the people of the west.”
He said the reserve upgrade would complement the existing Braybrook Community Hub, which has a free after-school program for people aged 12-15 and houses the club’s Sons of the West and Daughters of the West health programs.
Maribyrnong mayor Michael Clarke said residents had showed strong support for the upgrade.
“Enhancing the facilities at Skinner Reserve is a welcomed boost for our community, improving the recreational opportunities for residents and expanding local sporting opportunities and competitions, putting the west, and Braybrook, on the sporting map,” he said.
The reserve is home to the Maribyrnong Greens Soccer Club, Braybrook United Soccer Club and Kingsville Cricket Club, who back the plan.
Kingsville Cricket Club has agreed in principle to relocate to Dobson Reserve, which is undergoing an upgrade of $3-$4 million in September.
Braybrook has about 10,164 residents and its population is forecast to grow to 14,467 by 2041.