THE Illawarra Stingrays are testing-out the perimeter fencing to Guest Park’s northern paddock after the latest upgrade to the Fairy Meadow sporting facility.
New fencing will direct pedestrian movement and restrict vehicle access to the park, which Wollongong City Council says will help to reduce damage and protect the playing surface.
While the work has wrapped-up, Council is planning for the next set of upgrades to Guest Park to ensure its long-term value to the community.
The next project will see the installation of seating to improve amenity for parents, players and spectators, and upgrade the drainage system to make the fields more resilient in wet weather. This next stage of work is scheduled to start next year.
Illawarra Stingrays president, Kathy McDonogh said as the pre-season training kicks-off for the NSW National Premier League’s women’s competition, the club are thrilled about the installation of the perimeter fencing to their training ground.
“Not only will it contain stray footballs, but it will also help protect the field from damage while still providing easy community access to the sport fields,” Ms McDonogh said.
“The future drainage works will also be welcome – the fields were boggy and unusable for most of the 2022 season from the prolonged rain – so the upgrade to the grounds will increase usability in wet weather.
“The hard work by Stingray’s volunteers in applying for the State Government grant applications has paid off – the Guest Park improvements are an asset for all, and the club is proud to use it as our training ground. The Stingrays appreciates the ongoing support from Ryan Park MP and Council’s facilitation of this project.”
The project was funded by the NSW Government in association with Council. The NSW Government provided $300,000 in funding towards the project through the Greater Cities Sports Facility Fund. An additional $30,000 in funding from the NSW Community Building Partnership Grant Program contributed to the fencing.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said that the completed and scheduled works was a great investment by the NSW Government and Council.
“Council is committed to improving access to quality sporting facilities for all members of our community. We want to make it easier for people of all ages and abilities to play sport,” Cr Bradbery said.
“We’re pleased to be able to make a difference to Guest Park which is an important local sporting facility and recreational space. These upgrades will not only benefit our sporting community, such as the Stingrays who regularly use the space as a training location, but also the people who use the park for leisure, as a space to take the dog for a walk, or for social outings.”
Wollongong City Council general manager Greg Doyle said Guest Park is one of 220 playing fields that Council manages and makes available for community use.
“It’s a big job, and one we’re proud to do,” he said.
“We know these spaces are valued by a wide range of people within our community and not just by those who use these spaces to play sport. They’re social spaces, recreational spaces and areas where people can enjoy formal or informal exercise opportunities.
“In recent times, the weather has made access to these facilities challenging and so it’s exciting that, as we wrap up this project, we’re looking forward to the next and to make this space more resilient to weather challenges and water pooling.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Wollongong and the Illawarra Peter Poulos said investing in new and existing sports infrastructure to improve the health and wellbeing of NSW residents was a priority for the NSW Government.
“The Greater Cities Sport Facility Fund is investing $50 million in new and existing sports infrastructure across Greater Sydney to enable more people to participate in sport and active recreation,” Mr Poulos said.
“Projects that encourage more female participation in sport are a priority of the program and the $300,000 upgrade to fencing, landscaping and seating at Guest Park will enable more women and girls across the Illawarra to play football in a safe and inclusive environment.”
For more information on Council-owned sportsgrounds visit: Sportsgrounds webpage.
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