Council catches residents offside over ‘spontaneous’ soccer pitches

Hobsons Bay City Council hosted a ‘community consultation’ event in Altona Meadows last week, hoping to win over local residents with a new ‘master plan’ for HD Graham Reserve – the home of Altona Sports Centre’s basketball and netball facilities.

The Council presented plans to introduce soccer into the mix, proposing the installation of two new floodlit soccer pitches to be located next door to a well-established row of residential properties, with the plans providing plenty of conversation for consultation.

“They’re too close to the house. Much too close to the house. We’re not very far away from it. The Council probably don’t even know how near it is. It’s time they walked up and had a look,” a local resident said.

When questioned by other local residents on the proposed location of the two soccer pitches, Council cited recreational planning principles, lighting efficiency and the preservation of vegetation as reasons for the proposed new night-friendly neighbours.

“It’s the preferred arrangement from a recreation planning point of view because you get your summer and winter sports not interfering with each other. It’s the most efficient in terms of the lighting,” a Council spokesman said.

“There’s really no other location on the site where you’ll fit two soccer pitches side-by-side. There’s existing vegetation there and we end up coming closer and closer to existing wetlands. It’s the best fit in terms of not impacting upon other vegetation.”

“Council’s point of view is that we have an increasing population, we’ve got demand for sporting facilities. Council’s maintaining a big grassy area. Why wouldn’t we use that for structured recreation?”

Hobsons Bay City Council faced further questions from local residents once they were informed that the newly built soccer pitches would be home to no actual soccer teams but used as an “overflow facility” for all clubs within the municipality.

The HD Graham Reserve draft masterplan is currently being exhibited and proudly supported by the environmentally friendly and newly formed Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre, with feedback/community consultation closing at midnight on March 29.

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