$1m cost blowout on Kembla Grange synthetic football pitch works

Pitch imperfect.
Pitch imperfect.

The projected cost of Wollongong’s first synthetic football pitch is likely to blow out by more than $1 million, Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

Hoping to convince his fellow councillors to consider an extra cash injection, he said preliminary works on the long-awaited project to improve the playing surface at Ian McLennan Park had revealed a number of problems and extra requirements.

To allow the project to go ahead, Cr Bradbery will present a Lord Mayoral minute at Monday night’s council meeting, urging an investigation into the feasbility and budgetary implications of providing another $700,000.

The council already agreed to stump up $700,000 of its budget in mid-2016, after the pitch upgrade received $500,000 from the NSW Government’s Club Grants.

But, with costs rising due to problematic drainage and extra requirements to make sure the sportsground meets regulations, Cr Bradbery said more support would be needed from the council, Football South Coast and the state government. 

“I think this will come in over the $2 million mark,” he said. “Design and excavations works have revealed it’s a very problematic site, but it’s one of the only sites we’ve got available for this facility. It’s not just a simple matter of putting down a synthetic pitch, we’ll need to do modifications to the base for drainage.”

“We’ve also discovered that the lighting and size of the pitch out there needs to be adjusted because it’s not adequate for the FAA, and it needs a better fencing system because the site is very vulnerable to vandalism.”

If councillors support Cr Bradbery’s push, he will ask for an urgent report come back to the council by July 31.