Light up the stage for women’s football
NIGHT games and women’s football could be on the cards at North Fremantle’s Gilbert Fraser Reserve after Fremantle Council voted to apply for an $86,667 State Government grant to upgrade lighting at the oval.
If the application is successful, the City of Fremantle will match the money in its 2020-21 budget and put it towards the $260,000 project.
It would involve replacing three northern 20m towers with two 30m towers, to match the two existing southern 30m poles on site, and a switch to LED lighting.
Gilbert Fraser Reserve is home to North Fremantle Amateur Football Club, Fremantle AFL Masters Football Club and Fremantle Mosman Park Cricket Club.
Fremantle AFL Masters Football Club president Stephen Ross said existing lighting at the park was sufficient for training but probably not good enough for night games.
“I think we need to be able to play night footy to get the most out of that ground,” he said. “We do find that the current lighting does tend to be in your eyes a lot if you’re in the wrong spot.
“Obviously you want as good lighting as possible for games, because there’s a bit more on the line.”
One of four 20m towers on the western side of the reserve was removed last year due to structural weakness and risk of collapse.
In his report to council, the City’s asset management manager Craig Best said existing floodlighting at the reserve was “at the end of its useful life” and restricting the use of the oval.
“Upgrading the lighting will maximise the use of the reserve and support the clubs in expanding their membership and providing active opportunities for the City’s residents,” Mr Best said.
“The different heights and types of the lights have resulted in poor uniformity of light and a high level of glare.
“Past attempts to adjust the lighting to improve the glare and light levels on the ground has resulted in light spill from the facility impacting local residential properties.
“The new lighting system will allow use of the entire playing surface and provide a larger training area.”
Mr Best said this would open the door to women’s football, which was prevented by current scheduling of training and matches, being played at the reserve.