Feedback sought on changes to help community sport and female athletes
Published on 20 January 2023
Willoughby City Council is seeking community feedback on changes to better manage the Council's sporting facilities, including supporting local and district community sport and the rising number of female athletes.
These proposed changes followed a review of the Council’s Community Use of Sports Facilities Policy (2021) and Synthetic Sportsgrounds Management Plan (2018).
The changes to the Synthetic Sportsground Management Plan involve:
- No longer having a monthly Sunday rest day for Northbridge Oval, Thomson Oval and Chatswood High School Oval, and instead using this former rest day for women and girls sport played at a local and district level
- An increase in weekend booking times at Northbridge Oval to reflect a trial of these hours held in August-September 2022
- A decrease in Sunday booking times at Thomson Oval
- For Gore Hill Oval, ensuring at least one Sunday per month is allocated exclusively to women and girls’ sport played at a local and district level
Meanwhile, the following changes are proposed in the Community Use of Sports Facilities Policy, which already states that the Council should be focused on supporting community sport at a local and district level.
- Ensure fairness and gender balance in the provision and allocation of community sport facilities
- State that regional-level improvements for Council sport facilities should be funded by non-Council sources, the relevant sport codes and their peak State bodies
- Add a definition for regional-level sport
Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor said the Willoughby LGA was a hive of community sporting activity, with around 17,000 players in clubs and associations hiring the Council’s 20 sportsgrounds, including four synthetic turf grounds.
“It is natural that there is always debate and discussion as to whether the Council has the right policy settings in place to manage current and future usage of these important sporting facilities,” Mayor Taylor said.
“As such, we are keen to get widespread feedback on these proposed changes, which seek to ensure Council is focussing its attention on supporting community sport and that we are setting aside enough space for the rising number of female athletes.
“Sporting clubs and associations, in interviews with a consultant commissioned by the Council, stated they expected a 30 per cent growth in female participation over the next five years.”
A series of community drop-in sessions, at each of the four synthetic fields, have been announced for dates in February.
The Council does not intend to convert further sportsgrounds to synthetic turf.
Feedback is sought before 20 February at https://www.haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au/managing-our-sports-facilities