No athletics facility in Bayside Council area

 Hensley Athletic Field in Pagewood in 2010.
Hensley Athletic Field in Pagewood in 2010.

Ball sport participants and dogs have taken over every sports field in Bayside Council area. You can’t go anywhere and jog on a sports field without the risk of a ball or a dog getting in your personal space. 

There is no athletics facility in Bayside Council area where an adult can safely run, walk or jump for fun, competition preparation, improve their fitness or keep the weight off.

Bayside Council now controls  Hensley Athletic Field at Pagewood. 

This  tartan track facility opened in 1971 and was dedicated to athletics by its original benefactor Mr Chic Hensley and was available for use by anyone who wanted to run.

It was the first tartan track built in Australia and was used by many Australian Olympians. 

It was free to use.  It had a full-time groundsman and coach and was open all day every day.

The empire builder’s of Little Athletics and Soccer saw an opportunity to get  exclusive use through a deal with Botany Council.  

I trained for over 12 years on this field and my mother managed the canteen as a volunteer.

The field was used by everyone interested in running including blind and wheelchair bound athletes. Restricting Hensley Athletics Field to two groups is unsatisfactory.

As a degree qualified exercise specialist whose sport of study was athletics I would propose that children should not be running on tartan until they are at least 16 and that Little Athletics coaching and competition in Australia should be reviewed.  

Bayside Council needs to reassess how it allocates its sports fields, applies charges and give everyone a fair go. 

The Sylvania Waters Athletics Track managed by Sutherland Council is available for use by anyone all day for free. 

Why the difference?

Joanne Jones, Bardwell Park