Room to move: Cr Andrew Jefferies was an advocate of the reallocation of sporting fields during his time as The Hills mayor last year. Now, mayor Michelle Byrne has taken a new approach to sportsground demand.The allocation of sporting fields became one of the most divisive topics affecting The Hills Council in 2015.
Moving to reallocate community reserves as sports grounds, the council was forced to change its plans following widespread community uproar.
Now, mayor Michelle Byrne has announced changes to how its existing sporting fields are used in a bid to meet rising demand.
From March 2016, community sporting clubs will be given priority over private and commercial operators when it comes to use of those fields.
The mayor cited a number of reasons for the change: rapid growth of all-age and over-35s competitions, the growth in non-traditional sports such as Ultimate Frisbee, Touch Football and Oztag as well as commercial operations like six-a-side football.
“The allocation of sporting fields is one of the most challenging and divisive issues we have to deal with at council,” Cr Byrne said.
“We are in a situation where council is trying to accommodate as many residents as possible, but there are bound to be some who don’t get exactly what they want.”
The council allocates 75 fields to 50 community sporting clubs.
“Over the last few years, the addition of commercial operators such as personal trainers, fitness boot camps, summer six-a-side football competitions and private football academies have placed enormous strain on our grounds,” Cr Byrnesaid.
“Council must now act before the situation spirals out of control and before more community sporting clubs miss out. Our new allocation process strikes the right balance in terms of meeting the needs of the majority of our residents.
“For community sporting clubs, the changes will be minimal and in most cases, clubs will be better off. Commercial operators may not have access to fields they have previously used, but Council wants to work with you to find a solution.”
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