Zinc Oval worries force junior footy to seek new home
Tuesday, 11th May, 2010
Junior football is searching for a new home as it faces the prospect of a future without the Zinc Oval.
President Ray Steer yesterday confirmed the association had begun a process to find another venue for the popular junior football competition.
The move follows a proposal to transfer some of Perilya's non-mining assets to new owners, including City Council.
Mr Steer said that while he understood a decision had not yet been made on the future of the Zinc Ovals, the association was planning for the future.
"We've got to look at other options," he told the BDT.
Almost 550 children play junior football each weekend at the two ovals and Mr Steer said it would be "a big commitment" to move.
A sub-committee has been formed to look at options which include moving games to the Memorial, Jubilee, Picton and Alma ovals.
While he had his own opinion, Mr Steer said that a wide variety of stakeholders, including the league, would be consulted before a final decision was made.
"We won't be able to please everybody ... but at the end of the day there are options," he said.
"I'd like to keep it out the South. The Alma is an under-utilised ground."
The loss of one oval means the association may consider using two different grounds or spreading the competition over three days instead of the current two.
Currently four age groups - under 6s through to under 12s - use the Zinc Ovals on Saturday, while the two oldest groups, under 14s and 16s, play on Sunday.
He said one option being considered would be to hold the Under 6s and 8s games on Friday afternoon.
"We'll be notified in plenty of time and talk to other bodies involved and hopefully make the right decision for junior football in town."
Perilya's mine manager Andrew Lord yesterday said that the company had given a commitment that no action would be taken during the current season.
But he could not say what might happen beyond this year.
"There's no immediate plan to do anything with the ovals just as there's no plan to close the Zinc Lakes," he said.
But Perilya's managing director Paul Arndt has questioned the appropriateness of public facilities being supplied and maintained by a publicly listed company.
He told MP John Williams in a recent letter that maintaining the Zinc Lakes unfairly exposed shareholders to financial liability, and directors and officers to potential criminal sanctions.
City Council's general manager Frank Zaknich has said that any plan to transfer ownership of Perilya's assets to Council would need to include financial support.
Mr Lord said that he was confident any issues regarding transfer of ownership would eventually be worked out between the company and the three levels of government involved.
"I don't think there's anything for the city of Broken Hill to be concerned about," he said.
"We haven't sought to go around and create grief for everybody, quite the opposite.
"I'm optimistic the whole thing will sort itself out and don't for one minute think people will be disadvantaged."