The recently formed Northern Beaches Council (Formerly Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils) have jumped into gear immediately to try and solve the problem of under supply of sporting fields in the Northern Beaches.
Council has engaged Otium Planning Group who are experts in the fields of sports planning and golf course feasibility to conduct independent analyses of the sportsgrounds supply and demand as well as a market assessment of golf courses in the Northern Beaches. These documents are available for comment by residents and sporting groups in the Northern Beaches.
As part of the Sportsground Strategy Northern Beaches Council held a Sports Forum on Sunday, 30 April inviting local sporting associations and state sporting organisations to further contribute to the sporting landscape in the Northern Beaches.
Representatives from the Facilities and Government Relations Unit (joint initiative between Football NSW and Northern NSW), Jas Virdee and Daniel Ristic attended and presented on the trends, issues and challenges that impact football across the state and the Northern Beaches area along with representatives from Manly Warringah Football Association.
Football is a key player in the Northern Beaches sporting landscape with over 17,500 players which represents over 40% of sport participation in the area. Football has a large voice and requires additional and improved facilities to enable the sport to grow and flourish well into the future.
The discussion paper released clearly demonstrates that sports fields are wearing out from being over-allocated. There is a shortfall of almost 20% of what the Council needs in sporting fields, this equates to 24 hectares or approximately 24 sporting fields. Unless Council improves the capacity of the fields in the Northern Beaches the gap will widen, reaching 41 hectares in 15 years.
To improve the capacity Council, need to improve lighting, drainage, grass condition, install synthetic surfaces and re-allocate fields to the sports highest need, football being one of them. Council will look to take up these initiatives as a priority.
The Sportsground Needs Analysis and Golf Market Assessment Report are now open for input until 7 May. Football clubs in the Manly Warringah Football Association should ensure they provide input now so football is catered for in the Northern Beaches today, tomorrow and in years to come.