Does Hornsby Shire needs more sports grounds?

Kids training at Montview Oval, Hornsby
Kids training at Montview Oval, Hornsby

It may have 43 sports grounds spanning 59 hectares – but in winter around two thirds of available space is squeezed to the max.

Now Hornsby Shire Council is reviewing its Sportsground Strategy which is currently at draft stage, and wants to hear from residents about what’s needed for the future.

You have until September 7 to send your thoughts about how grounds could be used smarter or remediated to get the most from the space.

Many Sydney councils are maxing their grounds by converting grass to synthetic turf so fields can be used year-round.

“This is an important document that will set the direction for Council’s efforts to meet the growing need for sporting facilities,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.

“This affects an enormous proportion of people within the Shire and we very much want to hear from those people before we decide on the final strategy.”

The Strategy involves some future proofing. There are predictions by the Northern Sydney Region Organisation of Councils that while the current shortfall of playing surface area across the Shire is 12.6 hectares, by 2026 it is estimated the shortfall will be 19.9 hectares.

The draft Strategy identifies current issues and demand, examines options for future provision of sports grounds and sets guiding principles for priorities.

“Hornsby Shire is in the highly enviable position right now of owning two major sites for future recreational facilities: Hornsby Quarry – including the neighbouring Old Mans Valley, and the former Sydney Water site at Westleigh.

“These will go a long way towards easing pressure on our existing sportsgrounds, but this significant investment makes it crucial that we get the Strategy right.”

Football is currently the biggest user of sportsgrounds in the area, using 59% of available space. This is followed by AFL at 11%, rugby union at 9% and rugby league also at 9%.

The NSW Government recently gave Hornsby Shire Council $90 million to go towards the Hornsby Quarry and Westleigh projects, the first installment of compensation for financial difficulties caused by the redistribution of the Shire’s southern border.

To see the strategy and have your say, go to: www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au/sportsgroundstrategy.

The Monthly Chronicle also wants to hear your thoughts about what sports facilities the Shire needs for the future. Email: jenny.barlass@monthlychronicle.com.au.

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