Club up and running
IT’S a hard slog for the Herbert River Athletic Club each year when the wet season rolls around.
Cyclone Yasi’s destruction added to the problems the Ingham club already had with grounds, running tracks and jumping pits.
After receiving one of the Yasi Sport Grants through a combined $ 250,000 effort between the Townsville Bulletin, The Cairns Post, Innisfail Advocate and Herbert River Express, the club is on its way to recovery.
Treasurer Natarlee Poppi said the constant rain had also halted the clean up.
‘‘ We’ve got a beautiful park area with trees and when Ingham floods, water passes through the track and discus area. The jumping pit needs more sand because it gets washed away,’’ Mr Poppi said.
The club grounds are still too wet and work needs to be done on their track and facilities cleaned and debris disposed of.
The club caters for mainly primary school students and if the grounds weren’t fixed after the Easter school holidays, carnivals could be in jeopardy.
‘‘ It’s a beautiful area when it’s not wet and I don’t know how we’ll get it ready in time for the athletics carnivals,’’ Mrs Poppi said.
Three club members spent Christmas Day moving everything out of the canteen to the tractor shed so it wouldn’t get wet. This is usually done on an annual basis during wet season.
Mrs Poppi said the club’s g r a n t m o n e y w o u l d g o towards the repair to jump pits which went under water during the floods and Cyclone Y a s i . S a n d n e e d s t o b e replaced and new t i mber boards installed. Two pits which service long jump and triple jump need two boards each.
High jump mats were stored away from the grounds but sustained damage as a result of the cyclone and they too needed to be replaced.
‘‘ It’s very disheartening at the beginning of the year and we try to get the children out there on the track as soon as we can but we can’t always offer them the use of all the facilities,’’ Mrs Poppi said.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council had hinted of relocating the club to Ingham Showgrounds but this would cause many problems, she said.
‘‘ We don’t really want to move because there are too many events there like the show and car club meets . . . we wouldn’t always have use of the grounds.
‘‘ We’d have to mark the track and we wouldn’t be guaranteed our normal training times,’’ she said.
M r s P o p p i s a i d s o m e parents had driven t heir children to Townsville to train while their track wasn’t open.
Herbert River Athletic Club is holding a sign on day today from 9am-noon at Ingham McDonald’s.