New hockey field a possibility

November 7, 2018 BY

Ready for more hockey: Simon Churcher, Amy Johnson – Liberal candidate for Wendouree and Mikenna Papworth following Tuesday’s pledge for second hockey field in Ballarat. Photo: ALISTAIR FINLAY

THE region’s field hockey players could be in for a significant boost if the Coalition win government later this month.

With player numbers increasing over the last few years, the only public field in the city can no longer handle all the use and that has Hockey Ballarat seeking a second facility.

That’s resulted in a $1.8 million pledge from the Liberal and National parties to build a new pitch.

“We know that Ballarat have 388 registered players and 33 teams which means with only one pitch they are absolutely at capacity,” said Liberal candidate for Wendouree, Amy Johnson.

Growth in hockey participation has been strong and steady.

Calvin Denning, vice-president of Hockey Ballarat said a few years ago the city had four under 16 teams.

Now there’s five under 16 sides, six under 14 teams and six under 11 squads across three clubs.

“Our junior numbers have exploded in the last few years,” he said.

“We’re bursting at the seams, the pitch is used seven days a week, including during the day by the local schools.

“We have to go to Ballarat Grammar to fit all our games in on match day. We can’t grow any further without a second pitch.”

As to where the new field might be located, that’s still up in the air.

A second pitch co-located with the current field at Prince of Wales Park would require negotiation with other tenants in the area.

There is also scope to locate the new facility somewhere else in the city.

“There’s several options,” Mr Denning said.

“We’re actually working with the council and other interested parties to try and find a pitch that best suits community needs.”

Ms Johnson wouldn’t be drawn on her preferred site for the possible new pitch.

“We’re going to leave it up to the hockey association in collaboration with council to decide exactly where this pitch is going to be placed,” she said.

“We know Hockey Ballarat are the experts in this area.”

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