Council closes four sports ovals

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Penrith Council closed four local sports ovals last week due to public safety concerns.

The four sports grounds were temporarily closed when Council found the topdressing used by their contractors contained fragments of glass, crockery and stone.

“The closure is a major inconvenience for sporting teams and locals, but nothing’s more important here than public safety,” insisted Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler.

“We inspected, closed and signposted the grounds as a matter of priority as soon as we discovered the problem.”

The four parks are Cook Park, St Marys; Cook and Banks Reserve, St Clair; Allsopp Oval, Cambridge Park; and Ched Towns Reserve, Glenmore Park.

Council has been in discussion with the contractors SITA in an attempt to establish both what caused the issue and to put in place appropriate procedures to restore the playing fields to a safe and fit-for-play state.

SITA has agreed to reconstruct each of the playing fields at their cost, with work scheduled to commence on Wednesday, October 16. It is hoped that the works undertaken will have the fields available for sporting and community use in early December.

“Apart from public safety, there’s the significant inconvenience caused to locals and our community sporting partners,” said Mayor Fowler.

“We’re talking to those partners to see what we can do to help find alternative venues for upcoming matches.”

Council’s Parks Department undertakes an annual topdressing program on a number of sportsgrounds across the city. These four ovals were from a group of 20 identified for topdressing by mid 2014. Topdressing has ceased while investigations continue and alternative supply options are explored.

SITA is conducting a detailed investigating into how the material made its way into the topdressing. Both SITA and Council are working together to ensure the local ovals are restored to a safe and fit-for-play condition.

Council has recently reconstructed a number of fields in various locations. Given the circumstances, Council is currently undertaking an audit of all recently reconstructed fields.

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