Council manager of environment and open spaces Peter Birch outside the Ellem Oval cricket sports club rooms.
Council manager of environment and open spaces Peter Birch outside the Ellem Oval cricket sports club rooms.

Fisher Park plan could be winner

FISHER Park, Grafton, is in store for a massive facelift if the Federal Government gets behind a proposed $2.5 million upgrade, with no less than four sports to benefit.

Committees from local AFL, hockey, tennis and cricket clubs have come together over recent months to work with Clarence Valley Council to work on the redevelopment submission, which was lodged last week.

All involved are keeping their fingers crossed the Government will cough up the $1.8 million to seal the deal and the word from council sources is that Page MP Janelle Saffin is a big supporter of the proposal.

Council manager of environment and open spaces Peter Birch has been a coordinator of the project and is confident the application will be looked upon favourably because of its ‘strong planning elements’ and the cooperative nature of all the sports involved.

There has been financial contributions from all sports including a $100,000 injection from the Grafton Hockey Association for a new all-weather turf valued at about $770,000, and $56,000 from Grafton City Tennis Club, matched by Tennis Australia, for seven new hard courts.

Council will chip in well over $200,000 for the project from various funds.

Some key elements of the planned improvements include:

  • A new ‘heritage pavilion’ building on the north-western side of Ellem Oval to be used for cricket in summer and AFL in winter. It will mean the demolition of the 1930s cricket shed currently on-site.
  • The realignment of the AFL field further south to reduce the number of footballs making their way on to the new tennis courts. The playground will be relocated.
  • A new hybrid turf hockey field to replace the current sand-base one. Hockey association president Bruce Carle travelled to Western Australia to inspect a working field with the turf and was impressed. The new field will be able to be played on wet or dry.
  • Seven new hard tennis courts replacing the old sand courts, giving the Grafton City Tennis Club one of the best location’s outside the metropolitan area for competitive tennis. This move is expected to attract more prestigious tournaments to Grafton.
  • Improvements to lighting on Ellem Oval.

“It’s been on the cards for a few years,” Mr Birch said.



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