No surprises in Central Oval turf review

CENTRAL OVAL: Footballers are desperate to see the state of the turf improved for future seasons.
CENTRAL OVAL: Footballers are desperate to see the state of the turf improved for future seasons.

A recent report detailing the state of the playing ground at Central Oval has revealed a truth known to local footballers for some time.

The turf needs extensive upgrades.

Uneven surface levels, surface contours, fertility issues, irrigation issues, and variable turf coverage are all issues contributing to the poor state of the oval.

Problems which have been exacerbated over the past year due to the high temperatures and limited rain fall in comparison to the previous summer.

Despite previous efforts from the Port Augusta City Council to revive the turf, improvements will not be seen unless an extensive upgrade is undertaken to the irrigation, root zone and surface.

The state of the turf has now reached a point where upgrades are unavoidable according to Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson.

“We want to make sure that when we are spending money, particularly large sums of money, that we are getting maximum investment and return to the broader community,” Mr Johnson said regarding the costly investment.

“It’s not just about local sporting groups – as much at that is important – it’s about how do we maximise that for the greater return. I.e SANFL and AFL games to be played in Port Augusta.”

Both the AFL and SANFL have expressed interest in bringing matches to Central Oval, but have been reluctant to do so until the playing surface is improved.

“Just one game alone would be a really nice economic boost, let alone scheduling multiple games,” Mr Johnson said.

The report, yet to be accepted by Council, suggests work should be carried out immediately after the completion of the 2019 SGL season in order for it to be completed by 2020. However an exact cost is not yet known.

Also included in the report are options regarding improved storage at the facility, as well as the future of basketball at Hancock Stadium.  

The report will be discussed by Council during the Operations Committee Meeting held tonight at 5:30pm in the Civic Centre.