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Restrictions kill off assets

Wednesday, 19th December, 2018

Councillor Tom Kennedy in front of Burke Ward Oval. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Councillor Tom Kennedy in front of Burke Ward Oval. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Burke Ward Oval and other public assets like the Norm Fox Oval are dying off due to the impact of water restrictions within the community, says Councillor Tom Kennedy.

Clr Kennedy said tighter rules and times around watering places such as Burke Ward Oval made it incredibly difficult to properly care for them, and why they’re now dry, dusty bowls.

“One of the big problems with the water restrictions was schools and Broken Hill City Council weren’t able to water the ovals without an exemption,” he said.

“So what actually happened was that those ovals died off. 

“The problem with this oval in particular is it’s going to cost probably upwards of a hundred thousand dollars for the school to return it to what it was.

“Three or four years ago it was covered in grass and enabled football and other sports to be played there.

“At the moment it’s just dust and whenever there’s any wind it blows everywhere.

“So my big concern with Essential Water imposing water restrictions again is that at some stage it’s going to cause the ovals to again start dying off.

“The cricket oval for example, the Norm Fox, that hasn’t recovered from the last lot of water restrictions and now we’re going onto more of them which stops watering from ten to seven during the day. 

“Now that’s probably the time of day that’s easiest for council to do it. 

“They do have automatic watering systems that can do it, but in most cases its manual watering and those water restrictions put a real impost on the community. 

“So once those ovals die off it’ll take a lot to recover them.”

Clr Kennedy said the impact of previous water restrictions at Burke Ward Oval had seen it dry up incredibly quickly.  

“The drying up at Burke Ward Oval virtually happened in a year,” he said.

“The water restrictions came in and it went from being grassed to dying off in around three or four months. 

“In Broken Hill if you don’t water an oval, whether it’s an oval or your own lawn, it’ll die off really quickly within a matter of weeks.

“Once that dies off then it then takes a lot of water to re-establish. 

“Once it’s died off to the stage here at the Burke Ward School, you really have to returf it and that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

To try and get it back to its former glory, Clr Kennedy said Burke Ward School would have to apply for grants to fix it, while Council should look at removing public assets from water restrictions. 

“As far as the Burke Ward Oval goes, the school itself is going to have to apply for grants to try and get it back up to a standard,” he said.

“What we need from a council perspective is to make sure Essential Water doesn’t put water restrictions on public assets like the Burke Ward Oval or other ovals around town. 

“It’s bad enough that the community has to deal with the water restrictions let alone public assets.

“It’s very disappointing (to see it in its current state) because it actually was the best school oval in town. 

“Burke Ward really was at an advantage over other schools because of the facilities they had. 

“It enabled them to perhaps improve their sport beyond what some of the other schools had.

“Looking at this though, it’s completely unusable.”

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