FIX MY OVAL
Ovals are more than just a place to play sport. They are community hubs for a range of local activities.
Our local ovals provide a venue for recreational pursuits like boot-camps and fitness training. They stimulate many childhood and family memories like kicking a footy, flying a kite, egg and spoon races – just the simple things in life. Ovals are where we hold birthday parties, meet up with friends, watch sport and celebrate together.
Many of our community ovals suffer from a lack of basic maintenance and amenities. Due to the 2012 drought, over 30 ovals had their irrigation switched off and not reconnected. A decommissioned oval rapidly ceases to be a safe and viable area for community recreation.
The number of well-maintained, grassed and watered sporting fields in the ACT are in short supply. We are concerned that many former, well utilised areas have become neglected and this has resulted in a loss of usability for sporting pursuits, and even safe access.
To rectify this neglect, we will implement an immediate remediation and upgrade plan for local sports and community ovals in the ACT. The restoration will be undertaken based on evidence for sporting need or alternatively, for mixed community use. This may include some irrigated grassed areas but could also incorporate other community assets.
Communities deserve access to well-maintained ovals that have the facilities they need. We want to see neighbourhood ovals that are functional, being used regularly and providing a hub for our suburbs and their people.
Community feedback on the better use of ovals includes:
- Small playgrounds BBQ areas
- Seating and shade
- Open theatres and public spaces
- Sports equipment such as basketball, cricket nets, or hitting walls
- Open air gym and fitness stations
- Vegetable and herb gardens
- Communal compost and environmental initiatives
The right support for our sporting ovals is necessary for local sporting clubs to enhance their use of these facilities. The demand for ovals has never been so high. The Canberra Liberals will involve local clubs and associations to better manage these facilities.
We want to assist local clubs and groups to take ownership of their site by providing access to practical supports, like top soil, bore water or small grants. We will work in a collaborative manner and show greater transparency for decisions on maintenance, mowing and ground closures.
We believe this will go a long way in helping local sporting groups to plan, get involved with, and take ownership of their home ground.
GROUND HIRE & ACCESS
Ground hire costs or limitations to access should not detract from playing sport and being involved in recreation activities on our ovals.
We will endeavour to make sports grounds affordable and more accessible. We aim to reduce ground hire cost for local clubs, and open access to locked grounds for more activities. We believe greater access to critical assets will contribute to increased participation.
We will establish incentives for clubs to engage with different segments of the community to encourage the involvement and growth of local sport. The Canberra Liberals will recognise innovative clubs by offering incentives such as reduced ground charges to offer free trials or reduced membership fees. Clubs who pitch in and help with maintaining sporting facilities will also be rewarded for their effort through greater access to ACT Government owned assets. This would include allowing local clubs the chance to hold finals and special events on elite grounds and stadiums.
We want to unleash the potential of the ACT by unlocking our best assets, showcasing them and hosting fun community events.
The cost of irrigating ovals in the ACT is incredibly high.
We would explore affordable options for irrigation and long-term water security through measures such as greater use of bore water, rain water and other mechanisms. The Canberra Liberals believe that this is good for our community and for the environment.
GROUND CLOSURE PERIOD
To minimise the disruption to sport and recreation groups, we would stagger ground closure periods.
We will liaise more closely with sporting associations to ascertain the timing for critical events like finals and pivotal training sessions. By scheduling maintenance activities to occur after the completion of these events, it will minimise the disruption to sports and the general community. During inclement weather or if outdoor facilities are unsuitable or unsafe, we will be proactive in offering alternative training facilities, such as indoor venues.
The Canberra Liberals recognise the need to modernise lighting at many grounds across the ACT through the installation of energy efficient and digitally smart solutions.
With so many people working during the day, there is increased demand for facilities during the evenings when we can find the time to participate in sport and recreation. Lighting helps clubs be more flexible and increase their offering to the community. This is important for our climate and our modern way of life.
PUBLIC WI-FI FOR SPORTING PRECINCTS
In recognition of the role that technology plays in sport, access to free public Wi-Fi will be progressively extended to sporting precincts around the ACT.
This will enable clubs and officials to upload real-time information and data or to process electronic payments. Spectators can also access fast, free Wi-Fi networks to share the sporting experience.
CLUBHOUSES & PROPER STORAGE
Local sport and recreation groups need more storage.
A solution over the last decade has been to install temporary shipping containers. In their present state these can be unsightly and impractical.
To provide a sense of permanence, we will investigate the use of demountables or creative uses of modified shipping containers to replicate a more traditional clubhouse set-up. We will also explore the opportunity to co-locate similar sports to shared facilities to provide a real hub and home.
The expense of public liability insurance affects participation in sport and recreation activities in the ACT.
This can be a significant burden for many small clubs in terms of financial impact or the administration efforts to gain coverage.
Like a worker’s compensation model, an opt-in centralised scheme will be created for smaller clubs or associations without a parent body to provide this important coverage.
The Canberra Liberals highly value the contribution of Community Clubs to local sport and recreation.
They provide financial contributions, sponsorship, administration and maintain a broad range of sporting infrastructure and venues. This includes ovals, golf courses, tennis courts, bowling greens and even a yacht club. We recognise the support they provide to many Canberrans for them to participate and be active.
We will look for ways to work with clubs and their members so that more people have access to local sport and recreation in our community.