A still from a video of the Wollongbar Sports Fields.
A still from a video of the Wollongbar Sports Fields.

'Unsightly, embarrassing': Major issue with $4.5m facility

BALLINA Shire Council will investigate options to fix the "unsightly and embarrassing" drainage situation at the Wollongbar Sports Fields.

The state-of-the-art facility has six tennis courts, four netball courts and two rugby ovals, and was officially opened in April 2018.

>>> MORE: Ballina Shire Council stories

The Alstonville Tennis Club has been actively using the site, but the council is having ongoing discussions with the Wollongbar Alstonville Rugby Club over the proposed new clubhouse and the standard of the playing fields.

However another major issue is the drainage.

At last month's council meeting, Cr Ben Smith put forward a notice of motion calling for action to fix the poor drainage on both of the access roads, but particularly the Pearces Creek Rd entrance.

"It's pretty bad, something needs to be done about it," he said.

"This is an amazing facility that we've spent a lot of money on.

"The entrance is pretty poor.

"Whenever you get a serious amount of rain, the whole road just looks like it erodes to nothing.

"It's debatable whether or not the drainage was ever designed to meet the requirements of the environment the road is situated on.

"The access roads and drainage look unsightly and is an embarrassing entry statement to a $4.5+ million facility.

"The drainage functions poorly with rocks and mud piling up regularly after a typical rain event.

"Furthermore, the poor drainage is causing structural damage to the access roads, creating an increased burden on road maintenance."

Mayor David Wright said the design of the drainage may be "deficient".

"I think it'd only been open two months and we had an hour's rain and it virtually removed all the rock and took the road away," he said.

Cr Smith said he wanted staff to get some background on the issue and look at options to fix it.

The motion was passed unanimously.

Staff will now prepare a report for the June council meeting, in order to examine funding options for rectification works as part of the 2020/21 delivery program and operational plan.


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