Winter sports return today after City of Newcastle staff worked with sporting associations, clubs and neighbouring councils to support the resumption of competition and ensure a safe and consistent approach.
Around 140 sportsgrounds are hosting players in adherence to each sporting association’s COVID-19 safety plan.
Maryland Fletcher FC come back to two vastly improved fields at Kurraka Reserve, thanks to new turf and a $160,000 irrigation and drainage upgrade delivered by the City with the help of a $100,000 Federal sporting grant.
Regeneration of the two playing surfaces also included relevelling, top dressing and over sowing with ryegrass.
Federal member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon with Maryland Fletcher FC President Dave Carter and City of Newcastle Councillor Matthew Byrne on Kurraka Reserve’s new playing surface.
“We are delighted to welcome all sports back from this weekend and especially happy for the young Maryland-Fletcher players returning to a picture-perfect playing surface,” City of Newcastle Councillor Matthew Byrne said.
“The new drainage system will prevent Kurraka becoming waterlogged in winter while the irrigation system will dramatically improve the turf quality and playability for both soccer and cricket year-round.
“The past summer’s drought and water restrictions, which turned many sporting grounds into dust bowls around the country, underline the importance of efficient irrigation systems.
“Better grounds encourage greater participation while minimising labour and maintenance costs, and the City’s parks and recreation staff do a fantastic job maintaining and upgrading fields.”
Maryland Fletcher FC President Dave Carter said the club’s youngsters were eager to play on the newly improved fields.
“The result of the upgrade is a vastly improved and sustainable playing surface that’s going to save us hundreds of volunteer hours and ongoing maintenance costs every year,” Carter said.
“It’s been a great example of what can be achieved with cross-government and local community cooperation. We’re grateful for Council for managing the installation and the support of our Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon MP in obtaining a Federal grant.”
Where sporting activities involve more than 20 participants, organisers must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. The City will continue to liaise with clubs to ensure they meet requirements.