Whilst many clubs that we compete with currently have access to an all-weather playing surface, Balmain & District Football Club (BDFC), despite being the largest community football club in the country, has been unable to obtain access to such a facility. The recently completed all-weather fields at Rudd Park, Strathfield Park and Tempe Reserve show what can be offered by such facilities. Due to their hard-wearing nature, all-weather fields enable community use to be optimised whilst maintaining a high-quality playing surface.
Members may be aware that our Club had been hoping to secure access for our members to an all-weather playing field at the recently opened Rozelle Parklands. However, we were informed last year that the parklands delivered by the State Government will not include an all-weather playing surface. Instead, as announced by Mayor Darcy Byrne and NSW Minister for Roads, John Graham, the State Government is making a $20 million budget available to Inner West Council for it to identify and deliver an all-weather playing field elsewhere in our area, as well as providing other local facilities.
As a result, Inner West Council has resolved to consider four existing playing fields for conversion to an all-weather playing surface and is currently seeking community feedback on which field to select. The four fields under consideration include our home playing fields at Waterfront Drive in Callan Park and at Easton Park. The other two fields being considered are at Balmain Road in Callan Park and Leichhardt No.2 near the Leichhardt Swimming Pool.
The BDFC Club Executive has unanimously resolved to advocate for one of our two playing fields at Waterfront Drive to be selected for conversion to an all-weather surface. This is based on the obvious benefits of providing an improved playing surface for all year-round use, alongside the building for which funding has now been secured to be renovated and converted into the new BDFC clubhouse and community facility.
Choosing to provide the new surface at Waterfront Drive would enable users to draw on the new facilities being provided at the clubhouse – which include toilets and changerooms – and the existing 200-lux floodlighting, and would not impact on any nearby residents.
Our club is keen to pursue new hybrid grass technology for the all-weather surface, delivering a modern mixture of grass and manufactured materials, drawing on the great advancements that have been made in the development of all-weather playing surfaces.
We are strongly advocating to Inner West Council to select the Waterfront Drive field for all-weather use and, in doing so, provide improved facilities for our 3,000+ members, many of whom live on and around the WestConnex tunnel facility and have lived through the impacts of its construction over the last few years.
As BDFC members will be aware, our Club has been advocating to Inner West Council to provide more fields and improved playing surfaces for decades; this new funding is a great opportunity for the Council to meet the needs of the local sporing community.
Examples of the recent installations at Rudd Park and Strathfield are below.