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By Rowan Forster

A state-of-the-art bee hive, Sikh community centre and Officer sporting pavilion are just some of the ambitious proposals vying for a slice of the State Government’s $30 million Pick My Project initiative.

Community groups are jostling for a share of the innovative funding package, with the community being implored to vote for their favourite candidates.

A total of 37 projects have been lodged across Cardinia, each bucking for a cash splash between $20,000 and $200,000.

Member for Eastern Victoria Daniel Mulino believes the Victoria-first initiative will make the region a better place.

“It’s now time for people in Cardinia to vote for their favourite community projects so we can get them done,” he said.

“This is a Victorian first that will make Cardinia a better place to live.”

For Rob Armstrong, who coordinates G.W.S. Anderson Scout Park’s bee experience, a share in the funding would be of tremendous assistance.

“We’ve got a few bee hives out at the scout camp and we’ve got a few programs,” he said.

“The plan for the Pick My Project is to get funding to expand.

“We need to buy equipment; hives and we’re in the process of designing a brand new apiary.

“We want to increase awareness of the plight of bees everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Gembrook Primary School has an avid aspiration to revitalise its oval, which it describes as “little more than a cow paddock.”

The oval would include new drainage, turf and goal posts – serving wider community groups such as Auskick, AFLW and Little Athletics.

“We hope to revitalise the Gembrook Primary School oval with a share in the $1 million funding available in our area,” principal Brendan Fitzpatrick said.

“With increasing pressure on existing ovals from the rise in female participation in sport, revitalising Gembrook Primary School’s oval will help alleviate that pressure and provide additional opportunities for grassroots sport.”

With a similar motivation, the Officer Sports Club wants to develop a sandstone cladding pavilion with the Pick My Project funding.

The existing facility, built in the early 70’s, struggled to accommodate large groups and fails to adequately shield patrons from rain in the winter.

User groups are contributing just over $200,000 from their own funds for the building, but they hope the State Government can further assist them.

A spokesman for the club outlined some of the inclusions, should the project receive funding.

“The larger facility will include a variety of event spaces, a modern kitchen with enhanced food preparation facilities and new accessible toilets to cater for the elderly and people with disabilities,” he said.

For the Nar Nar Goon Progress Association, the Pick My Project fund could reinstate the town as the mural capital of Victoria.

In 2002, the community installed 19 murals depicting life and scenes from Nar Nar Goon in the 1920’s.

The renowned artworks – which have been a staple for tourists – are showing signs of severe deterioration.

Proponent Travis Parker said the community now needs money to restore the cherished paintings.

“The murals are open access and free for everyone to enjoy including tourists, local community, schools and kindergarten,” he said.

“A future aspiration for the town is to hold a mural festival where local artists can contribute to future new murals in the town.”

Voters can visit the Pick My Project website to register and select their local community by searching for their street address or suburb.

Voting closes on 17 September.

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