Synthetic pitch for Bairnsdale

Conditions for recent hockey games at the WORLD Sporting Precinct's grass hockey field have been slammed as "dangerous" and "unplayable" by the local hockey association. East Gippsland Shire Council last week decided upgrades at the WORLD precinct will include a synthetic hockey pitch.

LOCAL hockey players are celebrating the news the redevelopment of the WORLD Sporting Precinct in Bairnsdale will now include a synthetic hockey pitch, following a decision by East Gippsland Shire Council last week.
East Gippsland Shire mayor Mendy Urie said the inclusion of the synthetic pitch, which will replace one of the proposed grass fields, would support the growth of hockey in the area.
“Hockey is a growing sport in East Gippsland and this synthetic playing field will encourage even more participation,” she said.
“It’s an exciting addition that will be used region-wide.
“Council is working closely with East Gippsland Hockey Association to make this pitch a reality and the association has agreed to manage the facility. It’s a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together to achieve our goals.
“Councillors and officers agreed that including the synthetic pitch in the stage one works was the right time to add the synthetic pitch. As a result, council passed a contract variation on Tuesday night to allow for one of the two planned grass hockey fields to become a synthetic surface.”
The decision came after a long-running campaign from local hockey clubs for a synthetic pitch, similar to the one at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex in Sale.
The issue came to a head recently, when high rainfall led to muddy and unsafe conditions at the Bairnsdale facility.
A women’s match between Swan Reach and Sale was abandoned at half-time, with the open match cancelled.
Work at the Wallace St site began this month.
Stage one includes demolishing the existing pavilion, establishing two grass playing fields and building a car park.
The upgrades are due for completion in December, with the synthetic hockey pitch and other upgrades tipped for completion in February.
Once finished, the WORLD Sporting Precinct will have upgraded netball courts, hockey and soccer pitches (including a synthetic hockey pitch), pavilions, and floodlighting, and improved spectator amenities and facilities.