No room for hockey


Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Front Page - Aaron Cor­lett

THERE are fears the Vic­to­ria Park Xavier Hockey Club will have to leave the Town after a re­port showed there were no vi­able op­tions for it to stay.

The club, which has been in the Town un­der var­i­ous names since 1962, is look­ing to move from Fletcher Park so it can build a syn­thetic turf fa­cil­ity to keep up with other clubs around the metro area.

After some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity cam­paigned against the club’s pre­ferred op­tion at Harold Ros­siter Re­serve be­cause of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns and the loss of pub­lic open space, the Town ap­pointed Dave Lan­fear Con­sult­ing to look at op­tions for the club.

The con­sul­tants re­port came to the coun­cil at the elected mem­bers brief­ing ses­sion on Oc­to­ber 3.

It said there was not a suit­able lo­ca­tion owned by the Town that could ac­com­mo­date a syn­thetic turf pitch, three nat­u­ral grass pitches and clu­b­rooms.

Coun­cil staff have rec­om­mended the coun­cil work with the club to ex­plore al­ter­na­tive op­tions that would pro­vide it with in­creased ac­cess to a syn­thetic turf pitch.

Club pres­i­dent Ryan Willis said he was dis­ap­pointed by the find­ings and was con­cerned the club would be forced from the Town.

“Given the time­frame, the re­port is as good as it could have been, but it’s dis­ap­point­ing,” he said.

“To say there are no vi­able sites is dis­ap­point­ing and in­ac­cu­rate.

“I think the Town needs to go fur­ther and in­ves­ti­gate the pub­lic open spa­ces that are un­der­utilised.

“I'd like the coun­cil to re­ject the rec­om­men­da­tion or amend it to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate places like Hig­gins Park or Tay­lor Re­serve.”

Mr Willis said the club was more than just about sport be­cause it cre­ated so­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Mayor Trevor Vaughan said more in­ves­ti­ga­tion would be re­quired to as­cer­tain whether there were suit­able lo­ca­tions for the club not owned by the Town.

“We are committed to con­tin­u­ing to work with the hockey club to ex­plore more op­tions,” he said.

The Town will make a de­ci­sion at tonight's or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing.

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