City bids to help sporting clubs

WITH the AFL season and other winter sports just weeks away from kick off, the controversial topic of limited oval space in Melville is back on the agenda.
WITH the AFL season and other winter sports just weeks away from kick off, the controversial topic of limited oval space in Melville is back on the agenda.

Last week, the City of Melville confirmed it was investigating a number of solutions to maximise the use of its limited sporting reserves. Ideas include replacing surfaces with artificial turf, improving infrastructure and a review of what sports were played at each reserve.

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the increase in sports participation and growth of sporting clubs had put pressure on the existing infrastructure and meant the City had to review all its ovals and their usage.

Mr Aubrey said the City met recently with local sports clubs to let them know the challenges the City faced and what was being done to ensure appropriate and sufficient facilities would be available for years to come.

‘The overuse of our playing fields is even more difficult because of the extreme dry conditions in Perth and a growing population, so we have had to face the reality that as things stand today, the City is not in a position to cater for future growth,’ he said.

‘Importantly, the solutions we find must also balance access and amenity for the wider community and keep rates affordable. Finding this balance is no small feat; we certainly have our ‘field of dreams’ as to what we hope to achieve.’

Mr Aubrey said the objectives included reducing the reliance of irrigation and comply with water allocation requirements, cater for both sport and non-sport activities on sports reserves and utilising all the City’s sports reserves.

Winnacott Kats Junior Football Club president Jim Stanbury said the City had spoken with his club about reserve usage. ‘All our home matches and training is done at Winnacott Reserve,’ he said. ‘It’s a busy oval, we train on it everyday and share with the softball club but it seems to be working really well,’ he said.

Mr Stanbury said he supported the plans to keep the reserves in good condition and was hopeful artificial turf would not be needed for Winnacott Reserve.

Last year, a Save Len Shearer Reserve action group was set up, in response to the City plan for artificial turf on part of the reserve.

Residents were angry about the idea and said it would take little athletics off the reserve and would not be suitable for other sports except soccer.

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