Works to redevelop Braybrook’s iconic Skinner Reserve are underway, in a co-funded project facilitated by the Western Bulldogs and the City of Maribyrnong.

Skinner Reserve will become a secondary training base for the Bulldogs’ elite teams and a key facility to run its community programs.

The $3 million redevelopment will see upgrades to the oval and surrounding facilities to enhance local sporting competitions and activities, and community use of the much-loved sporting and recreational facility in the inner west.

The upgraded Reserve will complement the existing Braybrook Community Hub which is thriving at the venue, a jointly-managed, free after-school program for young people aged between 12-15, as well as housing the Club’s Sons of the West and Daughters of the West health programs for Maribyrnong.

“It’s an exciting time for the Western Bulldogs and the community of the west to be undertaking an important project to upgrade Skinner Reserve,” said Bulldogs’ CEO Ameet Bains.

“To have access to a high-quality training oval for our men’s and women’s teams, 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 everyone. It will allow us to have a much greater presence with our suite of impactful Community Foundation programs, and will provide a multi-use facility for the people of the west to enjoy.

“We’re proud to be partnering with Maribyrnong City Council during this process, and we’re looking forward to seeing the works get underway.”

The Oval itself is getting a brand new high-quality playing surface – comparable to that of the MCG – which will improve year round grass cover and reduce water consumption in the summer months, all while supporting increased community and sporting club use.

Drainage and irrigation systems will be updated to support ground maintenance and four new lighting towers with energy efficient LED light fittings will be erected to improve safety and accessibility, and support night training and activities. A new 500m two-lane running track will also be constructed around the oval’s perimeter.

Further improvements to enhance sporting competitions include new visitor and player amenities, including new coach boxes, boundary fencing, goal posts, goal safety netting, spectator seating and an electronic scoreboard – which will double as an outdoor screen for social activities.

Skinner Reserve will be out of bounds during these works, but residents and visitors will still be able to use other parts of the reserve.

Work is scheduled for completion in April 2022, in time for the winter sporting season.

“Skinner Reserve is such a highly valued and accessed facility in Braybrook – and we are pleased to be able to enhance the amenity at the Oval and encourage and support opportunities for social activity and sporting competitions now, and for future generations to come,” said City of Maribyrnong Mayor, Cr Michael Clarke.