My kids are involved in local sports, so I get the opportunity to travel to different playing grounds in the St George area. Generally speaking, when you compare local fields to neighbouring areas, ours don’t measure up, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re comparing grounds for soccer, rugby league, AFL or cricket. You only need to take one look at the soccer fields at Renown or Poulton Park to see how bad the situation is.
One of my priorities on Council is to invest more money in upgrading our local sporting grounds. Our playing grounds have suffered from years of neglect and uncoordinated maintenance schedules, which directly impacts the thousands of kids across the Council area who are involved in organised sport on any given weekend.
The condition of playing grounds in our area simply isn’t good enough, and in fact can be downright dangerous. Georges River Council residents deserve better playing fields that can cater for everyone – our very youngest players, our elite athletes, our recreational users and everyone inbetween.
There are a lot of variables that can affect the condition of sports grounds, things like:
- What sport is being played and the impact it has on the field
- How many kids are using the field each week
- Too much/not enough rainfall
- Type of grass
Even taking these variables into consideration, more needs to be done to ensure that our local sporting grounds are top notch. A few of the sports clubs in the area have taken a strategic approach, and have engaged experts to give advice on what can be done better. Some of the ideas that they’ve come up with include:
- Using a new type of grass that is more durable and has been successfully introduced on fields in the Sutherland Shire
- Better maintenance regimes of grounds, particularly regarding weeding
- Introducing a roster amongst sports clubs to allow sporting grounds a three month breather in which to do regular maintenance
- Introducing synthetic surfaces on selected fields
I believe that we need to spend more money on local parks, and spend it more effectively. If it’s done right, we can save ratepayers money in the long run and have a better result for local sports.