Georges River Council has given the young members of Connells Point Rovers Football Club a million-dollar Christmas present.
This week the councilcommitted an additional $1.1 million in funding to the upgrade of the Rovers home ground, the Poulton Park sporting fields at Connells Point, bringing the total funding for the project to $4.1 million.
Last June, the State Government announced a $9.5 million funding package for Georges River Council and of this $3 million was allocated to constructing a synthetic field and amenities building at Poulton Park.
The council’s additional $1.1 million will see construction of a synthetic field and amenities block in Poulton Park start in the new year.
More importantly, it will provide a safer playing field for the club’s young members, Connells Point Rovers FC president Stephen Matthews.
“This announcement comes at a critical time for our members,” Mr Matthews said.
“Over the past three years we have had 12 serious injuries that were directly attributable to the quality of the field surface.
“These new amenities will provide a safer playing environment for our members.”
Connells Point Rovers FC are the winter user of Poulton Park under the auspice of the St George Football Association and one of the largest sporting clubs in the St George area.
“In 2015 we had around 1300 registered members and support staff. On any given weekend between 2000 and 3000 people visit Poulton Park as a result of the football activities.
“Unfortunately, over the last three seasons, due to the state of the fields, we have been forced to reduce our numbers.
“Many of these players have felt compelled to play their football out of the ara in the chase for better quality playing fields.”
Mr Matthews said that by April of any year 70 per cent of the field is compacted dirt.
“This playing surface has resulted in 12 major injuries over the past three seasons which can be directly attributed to the lack of ground cover on the fields,” he said.
“Eight of these injuries have been children.”
Mr Matthews addressed this week’s council meeting, asking councillors to approve the additional expenditure on Poulton Park to provide an adequate service for ratepayers and their families and to reduce the number of injuries to the players, especially the children.
“The proposed synthetic fields will go a long way to allowing us to adequately cater for our local community and the region,” he said.
This week, Oatley MP Mark Coure met with representatives from St George Football Association and Connells Point Rovers FC and Georges River councillors Sandy Grekas and Sam Elmir to discuss the plans to upgrade Poulton Park.
“It is important that the State Government and council work together to ensure our local sporting clubs receive first-class facilities and playing surfaces at some of our most popular parks and ovals,” Mr Coure said.
Cr Sandy Grekas said the additional $1.1 million committed by the council to Poulton Park will create an additional synthetic ‘mini field’ for younger players.
“This is a great result for the Connells Point area and for soccer overall in the Connells Point area,” Cr Grekas said.
“Too many young players are getting injured at Poulton Park due to the poor condition of the fields, so something had to be done.”
Cr Elmir said the construction of a synthetic field and amenities block was a future-focused, visionary project that is a great win for the local community.