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Artifical hockey pitch dilemma

August 12, 2014

forestville badgeIs it goodbye to Forestville Hockey Club in Forestville?

That seems to be a possibility if the club, the oldest in Australia, is successful in its pursuit and need of  an artificial pitch.

Much as Unley Council would like to help the   club  stay at its Goodwood Oval home, the news is that the introduction of a plastic surface …and the need for an intrusive  security fence to protect the precious surface at the expense of equally precious open public space…is a Corporation no-no.

The subject came up for discussion at Monday’s Council meeting, during a debate on just if,  how and when it would  be before a suggested $8million revamp of the Goodwood Oval precinct comes to fruition.

More on that in a day or two, when “Grumpy” has digested all the facts.

But it is most definitely a fact that an artificial surface for hockey is a no-no at Goodwood, and, it would seem, for that matter in the whole   Unley Council area.

Questioning a section of the proposed motion before Council, I had it confirmed to me that there appeared to be no suitable Unley-based alternative to the existing hockey facility, with, among other possibilities, Ridge Park being ruled out because of the major reduction in public open space that an enclosed pitch there would have.

Despite all of the above, I went along (reluctantly and pessimistically) with the proposal that ” The Administration commences discussions with Forestville Hockey  Club and other key stakeholders to identify a suitable site for a new synthetic hockey pitch”.

Meanwhile, for more background on the issue, turn to my “comments” section.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian permalink
    August 14, 2014 7:27 pm

    Unley Council should think long and hard about their final decision and the precedence that it places on all areas under their control. Forestville Hockey Club just happens to be the oldest hockey club in Australia, being part of the local community for 109 years. The club is older than the adjacent clubs by 75 years to the Football club and 100 years to the tennis club (and has been part of the community on a continuous basis for the entire duration, which is not what can be said for other blue sporting clubs operating within the Unley Council area).

    Forestville Hockey Club is one of the very small minority of clubs that have to deal with a grassed pitch when the latest standard is for synthetic pitches. As such, league games are not able to be held at their home ground, again an anomaly amongst competing hockey clubs.

    Currently the hockey club has to deal with their young players dodging dog faeces and runaway dogs when the existing area is used as a dog exercise area, the main group opposing the change, again, a more recent user of the space. Perhaps Unley Council could control the dog owners and direct them to the dog exercise area at the orphanage.

    By rejecting the request from the Forestville Hockey Club to upgrade the facilities by using the argument that fences preclude other uses of the space, opens the council to legal challenges to remove the fences around the adjacent tennis club and other tennis, bowls and croquet clubs in the council area.

    I understand that Forestville Hockey Club would be responsive to the upgrade, conversion and sharing of the adjacent tennis court area. I understand that the council, the owner of the space, has not leant on the tennis club to make this occur. If the Unley Council fail to assist the Forestville Hockey Club in finding a suitable location within the council area the club will be forced to source another location and Unley Council will lose its longest operating sports club.

    This will be a very sad indictment on the Unley Council if the Forestville Hockey Club is forced to vacate the club’s home ground after 109 years of playing there.

    BTW, a design point to ponder: the required pitch extension could form a traffic calming device if the parking space was reclaimed from the road.


    • cllrmikehudson permalink*
      August 14, 2014 10:51 pm

      I was not advocating the club’s move out of the area when I asked the question on Monday about the availability or otherwise of alternative sites within Unley for the artificial surface pitch. I merely wanted to get it clear in everyone’s mind that NO SUCH SITE exists without impinging on public open space. Your pertinent facts about the club’s history and the parallel you draw with other types of sporting clubs is something you should bring up with Council’s administration.
      Incidentally, I am told that we cannot afford the required surface and that there could be serious problems with the number of visiting cars.


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