Oval upgrade kicks off

The Colac Otway Shire Council in Victoria are celebrating the award of a $350,000 grant from the State Government towards a $750,000 upgrade of the Central Reserve playing surface.

Council hopes that the upgrade, which is scheduled to begin as soon as this year’s footy season is over, will mean that the Central Reserve is in a position to host AFL practice matches, VFL games and TAC Cup matches, and draw a number of visitors to the region from across the state.

The State Government funding, announced by Hugh Delahunty, Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation, will be combined with $150,000 from Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Program allocation, and $250,000 from Council’s 2012-13 budget, subject to the budget being adopted.

The long-awaited surface upgrade will involve the removal of the top 50 millimetres of playing surface, comprising the grass, weeds and thatch.

Contractors will construct a 250 millimetre loam base and create new ‘design levels’ for the surface, which will be maintained by a new automated irrigation system and drainage network.

Mayor Stephen Hart welcomed Minister Delahunty’s announcement, saying the Victorian Government’s support was vital to the project.

“For many years we have struggled with the surface, which gets extremely waterlogged during wet winters,” said Cr Hart. “The new all-weather surface will mean the oval can cater for sports of all types, from football to soccer, athletics or school sports carnivals, at any time of the year.”

Council has engaged SportsTurf Australia to prepare detailed design and specifications, and assist with project supervision. The company has managed major projects at Essendon’s Windy Hill, Ballarat’s Eureka Stadium, and Geelong Grammar’s Glamorgan. Council has already called for tenders from contractors to undertake the upgrade work.

Chief Executive Officer Rob Small said the oval would be grassed with Santa Ana Couch sprigs. “We are hopeful that the new surface will be ready for the 2013 football season, and we will do everything we can to achieve that deadline.”