Most people would be aware that the sports fields in Willoughby are reaching their capacity. Some of the time fields are unplayable due to adverse weather. At other times, there is different sporting codes vying for the same space or timeslot. There is not just a need across the city for more sporting grounds. Chatswood, West Ward contains six schools, all are growing in student numbers and they have an increasing demand for sporting facilities.
There is a limited number of strategies that can be used to address this situation. Installing synthetic surfaces on existing fields can overcome some of the adverse weather situations. The implementation of lighting on fields can extend the playing time on a particular field. Working out how to facilitate multiple sporting codes on the same surface can address some of the time slot issues. The final approach is to find spaces for new fields. This latter approach can be prohibitively expensive (due to the high value of land in the city.
Twenty years ago, Council proposed to install lights and a synthetic surface on the O.H. Reid Oval site. The local residents object, mainly due to the topography of the area. The idea was shelved. More recently, Council has been undertaking a review of all its sporting facilities. Whilst solutions have been found for some sports who only require relatively small areas, finding locations for new sporting oval has not been successful.
A local Chatswood West resident has come up with an innovative (albeit likely contentious) solution. His idea is to build ovals at the northern end of Chatswood Golf Club. Possibly 2 to 3 sporting fields could be located on public land currently leased to the golf club (the lease is currently up for renewal). He points out that the site is well-serviced by buses along Delhi Rd. There is an existing unformed vehicular road in to the area where parking could be located without cars having to go by residential streets.
The downside for this proposal is the impact on the Golf Club. Currently, three of the club’s eighteen holes are located on the public land leased from Council. The proposal would reduce the course to fifteen holes. This would mean golfers would have to play three holes twice.
Whilst the proposal to reclaim the public land for more diverse is radical, it does awaken some issues worthy of consideration. It would be quite interesting to see the number of players per year that use our various sporting facilities. Particularly if this is analysed by the size of the facility and the return to Council from fee or leases.