The outside will soon match the inside at Central Oval, with Port Augusta City Council giving the green light to upgrade the playing turf.
Described as a “glorified cow paddock” by Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson, the announcement would come as music to the ears of sports people all over the region.
Council has agreed to complete the scoping, design and funding of the project in the 2018/19 financial year, with commissioning to begin in July 2019.
A motion put forward by Councillors Tony Mitchell and Mark Myers to seek external grant funding for the turf upgrade was also carried at the recent council meeting.
Mayor Johnson said those that use the oval have rightfully complained about its condition for some time.
“It is effectively a glorified cow paddock, so it’s only fair that it be upgraded to what it needs to be,” he said.
“I can appreciate that there is also an element of people that don’t want to see the upgrade because of the financial impost that goes with it, but it is one of those things that council needs to correct.”
Uneven surface levels, surface contours, fertility issues, irrigation issues and variable turf coverage were all listed as problems contributing to the poor state of the oval in a recent report.
Council must decide whether to completely or partially replace both the turf and irrigation system, while also looking into new fertilisation and watering techniques.
“It is the old saying that you’ve got to spend money to make money,” he explained.
“The AFL and SANFL come to us every year to say, ‘We are ready to schedule a game in Port Augusta, but you have to give us a turf that we can play on’.”