Sports clubs get chance to move to drier fields

A new policy that will allow greater access to Shellharbour City's 34 sports fields in wet weather has been adopted by Shellharbour City Council.

While the news will be welcomed by many clubs, there were concerns expressed about the doubling of a wet weather bond from $500 to $1000.

Under the policy, which will be trialled from April, sports fields are placed in three categories, ranging from the worst affected by rain (category 1), to the least affected (category 3).

During wet weather, clubs would be advised by the council which categories of fields remained open to training and competition.

Any club using a field assessed as a category 2 or category 3 field has the option to apply to the council to pay a bond and play during wet weather.

The policy identifies six fields as the worst affected by rain (category 1) that are not available for any use during wet weather. These are Barrack Heights Sports Field, Flinders Reserve, Jock Brown Oval, Keith Grey Oval, McDonald Park and Panorama Oval.

Currently, all sports fields in Shellharbour are closed based on inspections of just two rain-affected grounds.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the recommended procedure has been presented to the council's sport and recreation working party and was considered to be the preferred option.

"This policy will enable council to manage these sports fields in a more proactive and productive way," Cr Saliba said.

"We are providing sports clubs with the option to train and play matches on the majority of our fields if they choose."

The new system will allow sports clubs on the worst affected grounds to request to relocate to other suitable grounds.

"By protecting fields that are prone to damage in wet conditions, we can preserve these areas for the long-term use of our community," Cr Saliba said.

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