Cricket misinformation 'disappointing'
Published on 23 January 2020
Mayor Darriea Turley AM has met with local cricket representatives to hear their concerns and clarify misinformation circulating regarding Council's approach to its sporting facilities.
In a letter to the newspaper earlier this month Councillor Tom Kennedy claimed that Council had "allowed" Norm Fox Oval to die and did not appear to hold sport or sporting facilities in high regard.
Mayor Turley said that the oval's recent deterioration was in fact due to an electrical fault occurring at the worst possible time for Council.
"At the beginning of Council's shutdown period the Norm Fox watering system was inspected and found to be in working order at the time, however an electrical fault later occurred and the system ceased working," she said.
"The problem was picked up and corrected when staff returned from the shutdown period, however in the meantime the Oval's surface deteriorated in the hot conditions.
"It's unfortunate for everyone that the oval's condition worsened over the Christmas break, but to say that Council "allowed" it to happen is both misleading and disparaging of Council's outdoor staff.
"Council's outdoor staff have been working very hard in extreme heat and dust in an effort to keep our many parks, gardens, and ovals in good condition, and I think they are doing a great job in a very difficult climate.”
Mayor Turley said she corresponded with Cr Kennedy regarding his claims, and he stated that he had noticed a malfunction with the system on December 20 and kept the information to himself.
"Cr Kennedy confirmed that he had noticed an issue with the system but chose not to inform Council of the problem," she said.
"I find that incredibly disappointing. Had Cr Kennedy passed this information on, Council staff could have taken a different approach to maintenance of the system before shutdown and possibly prevented the oval from reaching its current state."
Mayor Turley said she was also surprised at Cr Kennedy's claims that Council does not appear to hold sport in high regard, given he attended a recent meeting where Council stated it would seek to significantly improve infrastructure for cricket and other sports.
"Cr Kennedy was in attendance at a recent meeting between Council and the Barrier District Cricket League and clubs in which Council committed to seek funding to completely redevelop the Norm Fox Oval, and also install lights at Alma Oval to provide greater flexibility to both cricket and AFL competitions," she said.
"For us to give that commitment then have a Councillor come out and say we don't hold sport in high regard was quite discouraging and sends very mixed messages.
"So we just invited cricket representatives along to chat with us again to reassure them that we do care about their plight, and that we're working behind the scenes to try and find a long-term solution.
"I think the meeting went very well. The delegates were very understanding of Council's position, outlined their needs succinctly, and provided some excellent advice on the management of ovals.
"I look forward to Council working closely with sporting bodies and clubs along with the new Norm Fox Committee to provide some great upgrades at the complex in future."