Coun­cil to wa­ter sport­ing fields now to avoid “quite as­tro­nom­i­cal” cost later

Dubbo Photo News - - Emergency report - By YVETTE AUBUS­SON-FO­LEY

SPORT­ING fields and parks in Dubbo will con­tinue to be wa­tered un­der re­stricted ir­ri­ga­tion while the city is un­der Level 4 re­stric­tions, after Coun­cil adopted a staff re­port on the mat­ter.

Coun­cil says the key rea­son is the cost of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing sport­ing fields and parks after the drought.

“I think in a very re­spon­si­ble way this re­port pro­poses that we do what is nec­es­sary... to con­serve wa­ter but also the need to not in­cur a big fi­nan­cial ex­pense,” Cr Stephen Lawrence said.

The re­duced wa­ter­ing regime has been cho­sen in pref­er­ence to a switch off man­date which would “en­able bet­ter long-term man­age­ment and re­duce ex­pect costs of re­cov­er­ing lost turf”, the staff re­port said.

The com­bined re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of South Dubbo, Pi­o­neer Park and Ju­bilee Park, which equates to 18 hectares in to­tal, would cost up to $594,000 to re­seed, $1,386,000 to stolonise (a com­mon method used to es­tab­lish turf in larger ar­eas), up to $2,610,000 to re-turf, up to $585,000 to re­plant 50 trees, plus $900,000 in ir­ri­ga­tion costs.

“It shouldn’t be thought of in the com­mu­nity that this rep­re­sents a walk­ing away from the wa­ter re­stric­tions in any way. If any­one is of that view then I would cer­tainly sug­gest they go to page 94 of the coun­cil meet­ing pages and read the re­port, be­cause what it ba­si­cally says is that un­less we do

DUBBO PHOTO NEWS this, the fi­nan­cial dam­age will re­ally be quite as­tro­nom­i­cal.”

Wa­ter­ing of play­ing fields has, how­ever, at­tracted crit­i­cism.

“I know there has been a lot of crit­i­cism on so­cial me­dia about play­ing fields be­ing wa­tered, but it’s to­tally dif­fer­ing to any­thing owned by pri­vate residents be­cause it’s there for the en­tire com­mu­nity,” Cr John Ryan said.

“Even if you don’t use it, just to drive past it, just gives you a feel­ing of hope, I sup­pose,” he said.

Cr Jane Dif­fey agreed with the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing the fields to a stan­dard that pre­vents them from dy­ing, which would cost coun­cil a lot of money down the track to re­pair and re­place.

“I think it’s im­por­tant that we stress to com­mu­nity that it’s just for re­stricted ir­ri­ga­tion, so that these ovals can be used,” she said.

Dubbo Re­gional Coun­cil will con­tinue to main­tain play­ing fields and parks un­der a re­stricted wa­ter­ing regime to en­sure they can con­tinue to be used, and avoid large ex­penses to re­grow them after the drought. Pic­tured is Hans Claven Oval this week. PHOTO:

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