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Sportsground Closures due to Drought

By Growling Ferret - 5 June 2007 49

I can’t be bothered reading through budget papers, so I don’t know if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I have received news that at least 40% of all ACT sportsgrounds will be closed by August (perhaps sooner) if the drought does not break.

This means all ACT junior and senior football and other grass sport clubs and teams will be only able to train one night a week, and many grounds will be rationalised and closed. Many game day facilities, especially those used by Juniors and amateur leagues will be closed indefinately.

This effects all codes played on sportsgrounds, and in the end will lead to the destruction of playing surfaces from too much traffic.

I realise that there we are in a drought and water is a precious commodity, but considering the social, fitness, health and wellbeing aspects of recreational sport in the ACT, as well as the hundreds of jobs in retail/manufacture/sports medicine, is this a sacrifice that society as a whole – and not just interested participants,parents and observers – believe is one that should be made.

Out of interest, I would like to know how much water is invested in sportsgrounds – is anyone able to give an accurate estimation?

What is the general populations opinion on this?

Disclaimer: I write this as an administrator and participant in senior sport in the ACT, and am wondering if we are thought of as a selfish minority, and this sacrifice is one for the best of all society.

What’s Your opinion?


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49 Responses to
Sportsground Closures due to Drought
VicePope 10:31 am 06 Jun 07

I’m onside with the Ferret here. Local sport is vital for kids and adults. The folk (like the Ferret) who give up their time to administer are, IMHO, heroes. I would never thin of them as anything resembling selfish (although I’ve met a couple who should have escaped the world of make-believe internal politics a bit more often).

I recall Actew saying that they would provide free brownish water to anyone from a sports body who went to the delightfully named Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre with a tanker. Renting or buying a tanker for the use of sports bodies would be a Good Thing for any large local business on the make. Or the sports bodies could do as the rural firies (shamefully) have to and jiggle a bucket at the shopping centres. I’d be happy to chip a few bucks in.

trilobite 10:18 am 06 Jun 07

Maybe it’s time to consider alternate sports? Ones that don’t require large playing fields? I’d like to see the golfers go first, though. Perhaps we could borrow Daramalan’s trebuchet to deliver some lawn killer to the fairways?

Thumper 10:16 am 06 Jun 07

NTP, you’ve just donged the nail fair and square on it’s noggin….

And the cost to rehabilitate these dead grounds is very high.

Thumper 10:14 am 06 Jun 07

Sadly, you can’t play cricket on field made of astroturf.

Although as a batsman it would be rather handy..

‘Wait…, yeah one there, oh, its four!’

😉

Nik_the_Pig 10:13 am 06 Jun 07

My concern is if they let the ovals die then it’s one step closer to them being able to sell them off to developers as “no one is using them anyway” (because they are unusable).

ant 10:09 am 06 Jun 07

Lawns are thirsty things. Connect the dots. It’s not about “budgets”, it’s about nature who has changed our climate (with some help from us, maybe) so that there is less water around. bugets, well, the sooner we stop flushing good water down the drain, the better. I am certainly sad to see sport affected like this, and wish it wasn’t so. And now maybe they’ll get serious about using water better.

In ireland, we played hockey on fields made of compressed blue metal! Awful stuff. And in Edinburgh, we played on poligrass with no watering system. I think in another part of scotland we played on a clay-like surface, much like a clay tennis court.

Sliding to get to balls and tackles became less attractive.

ozGremlin 9:43 am 06 Jun 07

Where in the budget was any funding for actually implementing non-town water solutions for our sporting ovals? The bid private schools have already invested money in moving to bore water. When is the government going to do something REAL?

sepi 9:03 am 06 Jun 07

Well I’m not a sport administrator – I don’t even like sport, but I don’t think they should stop watering these ovals.

Or they should be looking very hard for alternatives – I’m sure they could get volunteers to drive water trucks from ACTEW, and parent groups etc to do monthly watering. OR they could use some lake water – take some of the golf course’s allocation.

Exercise for all, not just hte rich!

jgangsta 9:02 am 06 Jun 07

yes, we need to maintain our sportsovals for the reasons mentioned above however, why are we pouring our drinking water on it and why hadn’t they changed to recycled water years and years ago? i always think of this image – a visiting contingent of people from countries where they too are in a drought but their kids play on dust bowls, and they start laughing and laughing when told “yes, we pour our drinking water on our lush ovals, and yes we’re in a drought.” stupid. in regards to the drought, we only have ourselves to blame (society as a whole, including government)

Thumper 8:34 am 06 Jun 07

I’m with you on this issue Mr Ferret.

The mass closure of sporting grounds will not only cost the taxpayer a lot of money in future, but the social ramifications also need to be taken into account.

And as Mr ferret commented, this will affect the ‘social, fitness, health and wellbeing aspects of recreational sport in the ACT, as well as the hundreds of jobs in retail/manufacture/sports medicine’,

The ramifications are much larger than just a suburban oval lookig ratty and dry.

Disclaimer: I too am a sports administrator, coach, and player. Albeit, in summer when you really do need the water!

andy 8:11 am 06 Jun 07

Information from someone closely involved with sporting ovals informs me that in “normal” circumstances, it’s in the region of $1M+ annually.

I don’t think sporting afficionados are selfish for wanting their ovals, by the by. I just think that drinking water comes first. If you have a suitable grey water, or recycled water scheme to maintain the ovals, then by all means, go ahead.

Danman 7:14 am 06 Jun 07

JC – you early riser you – I was going to say the exact same thing – though I do not think teh water is potable – but it cerainly is not a biohazard… ACTEWAGL link here!!

andy 7:12 am 06 Jun 07

GF – I shall endeavour to find a rough idea of costs for water for the ovals.

On a different note, personally, I don’t think it’s a sacrifice that should be made. Being able to drink water is more important than being able to run around on a nice lush green oval.
The drought will (eventually) break, and then we can take care of the ovals again then.

JC 5:12 am 06 Jun 07

Sports grounds are the perfect place for recycled water. Southwell park has had a unit for years, turning sewarage into water for the fields, and apparently good enough to drink… Now if we are serious about protecting our playing fields, for the very reason the Ferret has mentioned then this is the way to go. How much would one cost? Now yes I know we have a shit tin of fields to do this to, but it is well worth it for our health and lifestyle. I wonder how the hockey fields will get on. Without water the astro turff is unplayable, in fact playing on it stuff’s it, the friction is too great, which is why they need to water them.

soulman 10:44 pm 05 Jun 07

My 2 cents

The ACT Government spent a quarter of a million dollars resurfacing school ovals last financial year.
Now we are at a point where major sports grounds are to close and those ovals that were resurfaced are faring poorly in the dry.

Seems to me that the money for resurfacing those ovals would have been better spent investigating and installing either more drought resistant grass variates or synthetic substitutes. I’m not mad keen on the idea of plastic grass, but it’s better than nothing!

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