Plans to upgrade Clovelly sports field leaves community divided

Plans to upgrade Clovelly sports field leaves community divided
Image: Local Rugby Team playing at Burrows Park. Image: Clovelly Crocodiles JRLFC Inc/Facebook

Randwick City Council are moving towards upgrading Clovelly’s local sports field, despite support for plans to extend the playing ground being divided among the local community.

Plans to upgrade the Burrows Park sports field have been in discussion for the past two years, with the local sports teams initially raising both the field and its amenities needed to be upgraded.

The suggestion for field extensions would also allow sporting over 13 teams to play on the grounds, needing an additional 10 metres south of the field area to meet ground standards.

However, many locals continue have push against extending the field, with community groups requesting the council abandon such plans.

Community Concerns

Randwick Council held a survey regarding the upgrades in May, asking the community whether they support upgrades to the amenities shed and expansion of the field, respectively.

The survey received 473 responses and saw a majority of respondents, 71 per cent, calling for the repairs of the amenities building.

However, the question regarding the extension of the field “to enable kids older than 13 years to play on the ground” resulted in an equal split between respondents – with 47 per cent in support and 47 per cent against the proposal.

Community members in support of the extension said it would encourage sports participation for community members and would provide a home ground and sense of community for local sporting teams and clubs.

Burrows Park Sports Field. Image: Clovelly Eagles Junior Rugby Football Club/ Facebook

Respondents arguing against the extension raised multiple concerns.

Many fear that traffic and parking demands of the area would be stretched, with the expansion attracting more teams and people to the ground.

Concerns about the field’s expansion may encroach on the field’s other amenities, including the nearby dog park and wildlife habitat areas.

Other respondents were also unsure if the area would be equitably used for all age groups if the area was extended for teams over the age of 13.

Council to pursue master plan

During Tuesday’s meeting, council debated whether to follow through with plans despite community backlash presented within the survey.

A majority of councillors motioned towards a master plan, saying it was in community interests to see a draft of the opportunities that could be made available.

Labor Cr Danny Said spoke in favour, saying that calls for improvements for the amenities around the field have been consistent throughout the years.

Liberal Councillor Andrew Hay and Independent Councillor Noel D’Souza spoke on the “value of sports” being essential for the community, with an upgraded ground supporting future communities.

Cr D’Souza said it was important for the Council to listen to expert recommendations for the field upgrades and pursue the report.

Greens Councillors attempted to defer the extensions in response to the number of residents petitioning against the field changes, with over 250 people signing against the plan.

Cr Rafaella Pandolofini motioned for a plan only to be drafted for the amenities building and research on the usage of sporting fields within the Council area to be provided. Cr Pandolofini’s motion was ultimately defeated.

A majority of councillors voted in support of a plan for the amenities building and field expansions to be provided to the Council.

The Burrows Park master plan is expected to be presented to Council and put towards community consultation soon.

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