Mixed support for theme park
By BELINDA SCOTT
Three sporting groups say it's not on
The Pet Porpoise Pool's concept plan to redevelop the Jetty Oval, which gained in-principle support from Coffs Harbour City Council last week, has met a mixed reaction from representatives of the three different sports which currently use the Jetty Oval soccer, cricket and AFL.
Holiday Coast Soccer president Jim Graham said he did not want to lose the oval sport.
"Soccer in general feels that the lack of fields for all sports in the city is disgraceful and to have one like this taken out of play without replacement should not be tolerated by the community," he said.
Mr Graham said junior soccer used the Jetty Oval for weekly training and the representative soccer sides would also be looking for more training fields for 2006.
"We don't play games there because the infrastructure is not there to set up and run games the lights and the canteen are sub-standard," he said.
However Mr Graham said the Jetty Oval was unsuitable for a club homeground because the optimum was a ground with space for three or four fields and the Jetty Oval did not provide enough space for competition games.
But he said he wanted to see the Jetty Oval kept as a sporting venue because it was 'eminently useful' and had previously been used for Aussie Rules, softball, baseball and junior rugby union.
The president of the District Cricket Association, Ken Robinson, said he had had ongoing discussions with Coffs Harbour City Council and had been assured the 2005-2006 summer season would not be affected and nothing would happen on the oval 'for quite a while yet'.
He said the Jetty Oval had no change rooms, but only a toilet block and junior cricket was prepared to lose the ground on the proviso that the council provided a replacement playing field within the city limits at no expense to the Cricket Association. He said vacant land in Combine Street had been suggested as the site for new cricket fields.
Cricket is played on the Jetty Oval on Saturdays during summer, with junior matches in the morning and senior matches in the afternoon.
Junior AFL president Tony Linett said his code only used the Jetty Oval for twice weekly training for the representative squad for four or five weeks of the year, so a change in useage would not really affect them.
"We have a choice of other ovals York Street, Fitzroy Oval, Richardson Park and the showground, all of which we use regularly," he said.