Page 1999 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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So a second athletics track on the south side, with the quality of lighting that it has, with the quality of the timing facilities and with the quality of the new jump pits, for example, has been thoroughly welcomed by the community.

Let me go to some of the other matters raised in Mr Doszpot’s motion today. I agree with Mr Doszpot that shading is important, and Sport and Recreation Services are currently seeking quotes for shade cover. The playing surface has certainly had some teething problems, but this is hardly a new or unduly concerning issue. It is a new ground that is getting a lot of use, which is, in my mind, a positive thing. There was an on-site meeting with Capital Football held on 20 April 2015 to discuss options for managing the newly established playing surface during the first season.

Sport and Recreation Services and Capital Football are in agreement on remedial work to be implemented to address concerns. This includes fertilisation of Woden park to aid in the strengthening of newly established rye growth; the application of climate control cloth to the high-wear areas on the Woden park playing surface to enhance growth by increasing surface temperatures and protecting from frosts—I must say that will be very valuable this week at least; cloth staying down from Monday until Thursday each week to assist in managing the condition of the surface; and a commitment from Capital Football to alternating the sideline widths to reduce wear associated with sideline referees running.

Those are some of the steps that are already being taken. In Mr Doszpot’s remarks there was a suggestion that there was no conversation going on. I hope, again, that I am able to assure members, and the chamber as a whole, that there is considerable discussion going on.

It is also perhaps useful to note that the couch grass surfaces on ACT sports grounds are annually over-sown in autumn to provide a suitable playing surface, as couch grass is dormant during Canberra’s cool seasons. In reaction to post-construction surface levels and early season trial games, Woden park was top-dressed to address inconsistencies in the surface levels. Eighty tonnes of sand was brought in on 20 March 2015, giving the surface a bit of a sandy appearance, which might be part of Mr Doszpot’s concerns. But recent rains have settled the surface sand into the profile.

I was quoted in last Saturday’s Canberra Times as acknowledging that there have been some problems with the surface, but it is a new surface. Sport and Recreation Services horticultural staff are working hard to get it right, and they are certainly working in partnership with the sporting clubs. So I reject any suggestion of a lack of communication. If there is somebody who feels they have not been adequately communicated with, I would urge them to ring Sport and Recreation Services, who will be more than happy to spend time talking with them and to get their feedback.

In relation to the lack of a scoreboard, that is one that I possibly do have to take on the chin, as it were. I am advised that the need for a scoreboard was considered within early consultation with user groups, and the need was agreed, but unfortunately the provision of a scoreboard to meet the needs of both football and athletics was outside the scope of the project and available funds.

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