Community cooperation brings sports fields to life

Two stories from vastly different contexts highlight the ways that communities, councils and organisations can work together to make things happen.

First, in New South Wales a groundbreaking agreement between Pittwater Council, the AFL (NSW/ACT) and Narrabeen Sports High School will see the construction of a synthetic turf field for AFL and soccer, as well as the much-needed reconstruction of a grass field, in the school grounds.

Under the agreement, the two new fields will be used by the school during term times and by the community outside school hours and during holiday periods. Change rooms and toilets in the school grounds will be upgraded and opened to the public outside school hours and both fields will have night lighting.

The AFL is contributing up to $80,000 in funding and the school will add a grant of $40,000. The remainder of the cost of the two new sports fields, which is estimated at $1.9 million, will be met by the Council through developer levies.

Pittwater Council General Manager Mark Ferguson said, “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this historic agreement and the potential for increasing sporting activity in the local area.”

Deputy Principal Peter Stokes from Narrabeen Sports High said that the school was working diligently to be recognised as a centre of excellence for the development of high performance sport within the curriculum of a comprehensive secondary school.

“The synergy between Pittwater Council, the school and various sporting associations is unique and exciting,” he said.

AFL (NSW/ACT) General Manager Tom Harley said, “This pioneering project provides a fantastic opportunity for AFL to partner with Pittwater Council and Narrabeen Sports High School to deliver the first AFL synthetic surface in NSW.”

Mr Harley reinforced that the delivery of the new field “…will enable both school and community AFL programs to service the growing demand in the surrounding region.”

Historic oval gets upgraded

In Port Lincoln in South Australia, the funds contributed by Council towards the upgrade of the historic Centenary Oval were matched by a show of community support.

Centenary Oval is not only a historical icon for the Port Lincoln area, but is well used by the local and regional community for sport and recreational purposes.

The Port Lincoln Football League leases the facilities from the City of Port Lincoln and they are used for community events such as Relay for Life, the Tunarama Festival, and various concerts. The Centenary Oval is also home to the Mortlock Shield, the longest running country football carnival in Australia.

For the much needed upgrade to Centenary Oval, the City of Port Lincoln has spent over $540,000 in the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial years. Community support stretched this amount to over $680,000 with donations of materials and labour.Port Lincoln City Council Community Infrastructure Manager Nigel Melzner said, “The level of support from the local tradesmen and businesses amazed us.”

And this support meant that the council could expand the work, including refurbishing the bar and fitting out the new canteen. New roller doors were installed and, once the football season was finished, work began on the change rooms, a new administration building and surrounding pavement areas.
“The community as a whole will reap the benefits of this improved infrastructure for many years to come,” Mr Melzner said.