Katherine Town Council wants to use an abandoned oval on Giles Street so planned work at the main sportsgrounds don’t upset dry season competitions.
Council is “urgently” contacting the NT Government on whether it can use the old Katherine Sports and Recreation Club oval on Giles Street.
Multi-million dollar upgrades to the overused playing fields at the Katherine Sportsground have been long delayed because of design criticism, planning delays and cost blowouts.
Katherine Junior Rugby League treasurer Annette Schefe has asked council to further delay the work to September.
“We have great concerns our field will not be available,” the letter stated… “It will have a major impact on our club.”
“We were advised work would start in 2019… our season runs from March to September and we use field 2 extensively.”
Council received a $11.4 million grant from the NT Government almost 18 months ago to upgrade the CBD, sportground and showground.
Mrs Shefe stood alongside Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson and Mayor Fay Miller when the grant was announced in July 2018 not knowing then how long it was to be for the work to start.
Of that, $4.4 million was allocated to the sportsground, mainly to upgrade the Don Dale Pavilion.
But concerns over the condition of the fields prompted the council to allocate $200,000 from its own reserves to fix Oval 2.
Council documents state Oval 2 “is constructed on a rocky surface with a minimum coverage of topsoil. It has no proper drainage system and the surface is undulating”.
During the dry season, the sportsground ovals are used by hundreds of players participating in athletics, touch, rugby and soccer each week.
But it is the Junior Rugby League which will be impacted the most by the drawn-out upgrades.
“We are a big club, we use [Oval 2] every day for training,” Mrs Schefe said today.
“If council goes ahead we will have to look at cancelling this year’s season, which would ruin our club.
“We would lose volunteers, kids would go to other sports, it would be very difficult to get it up and going again.”
Ms Schefe said there are no other field options in town for the junior club.