Cr Andrew Banfield wants to get one thing clear: the council is not selling off the farm.
"We are rationalising to invest back in the farm," he told the most recent council meeting.
He was speaking about the draft Recreational Needs Strategy, completed by consultants to guide sporting and open space planning in Goulburn Mulwaree.
The study by Purdon Planning reviewed all of the existing facilities, their usage and suggested improvements for major sports and their grounds. It also recommends 'rationalisation' of some assets, including three suburban parks and two reserves in Goulburn.
The authors found that while facilities were not of a standard to host state or national competitions, there was potential to improve them for regional activities.
It suggests targeting growing sports like netball, hockey and touch football and developing facilities that could host state and regional carnivals. The council is almost ready to lodge a DA for a new hockey complex at the Carr Confoy fields but is yet to secure funding.
But it also recommends developing grounds for multi-use. Carr Confoy, for example, could be used for touch football, netball, hockey, junior league and union. Netball courts could be upgraded from grass to resin surface to attract regional carnivals and four fields could be added for touch football. The study recommends that additional land be sourced for these sports, including car parking areas. At the same time, it acknowledges flooding issues in the zone.
In order to improve access, the strategy suggests a better pedestrian link from the CBD to Carr Confoy.
The consultants also recommend that the council consider re-configuring Prell Oval and establish it as the premier combined AFL and cricket ground in Goulburn. However they also acknowledged that the Goulburn Swans were keen to keep Goodhew Park as their home ground given its investment in infrastructure.
"The level of facilities at Goodhew Park are very basic and do not support the AFL club if it proposes to advance the sport to regional competition standards," the study stated.
They suggested the ground could also be used for cricket.
Goulburn Swans president Dane Stevenson said the club had invested heavily in improvements at Goodhew Park since losing its home base at Kenmore Hospital's ground several years ago.
This had included a new clubhouse and change rooms, completed with hundreds of volunteer hours and some grant assistance.
The club has also lodged a State Government grant application to improve irrigation. Mr Stevenson said the facilities were not of sufficient standard to tap into the council's effluent re-use scheme and the ground relied solely on rainwater.
"Our preference is to develop Goodhew Park," he said.
"If a multi-use venue gets up, great, but we've spent a lot of money getting the ground up to scratch and it would be a shame to see it go to waste."
But Mr Stevenson said the club had productive discussions with the council about developing AFL at Goddhew Park and combining other sports there.
"The council is fully supportive of us staying there as a club...We're not worried about having to uproot and leave and I have full confidence in the discussions we've had with them," he told The Post.
Mr Stevenson said Prell Oval was too small for as an AFL ground and did not allow the club to develop the sport in the way it wanted. But he applauded the council for the Strategy and for looking at ways to grow sports generally.
Meantime, Purdon Planning also suggest that Seiffert Oval be reconfigured to provide an oval-shaped velodrome and an adjoining athletics facility
"The circular rack is not consistent with current competition standards which usually have two straights with 180-degree circular bends," the authors stated.
Further, Hudson Park, which catered for athletics, was "quite dated and not fit for purpose" and its isolated location was a magnet for vandalism.
The study acknowledges that any reconfiguration of Prell and Seiffert Ovals could impact on adjoining facilities.
Elsewhere, the consultants recommend investment in the Cookbundoon fields to attract regional carnivals and improvements to car parking.
While sport is a major focus, parks and other open spaces also come in for attention.
The Strategy found that Goulburn had an over supply of 'pocket parks' which some could be rationalised. It urges the council to consider selling Gibson Street Park, Buffalo Crescent Park and Thoroughgood Park in Amaroo Place, as well as reserves in Hovell Street and Lockyer Street. The total 80,000 square metres could yield 40 residential lots.
"It is common for residents to expect that all parks will be mowed, irrigated, and have play facilities, at significant cost to the council," the study states.
"However there is an opportunity to further consider the diversity of functions and types of parks available and explore opportunities for rationalisation of some parks."
The need to review your asset base, whether buildings or other property, is a constant of any business.Bob Kirk
At the same time, the authors acknowledge the importance of such areas to heritage and amenity. They also recommend that for new subdivisions, parks should be within 400 metres of open space.
Mayor Bob Kirk said it made sense to assess the adequacy of the area's open spaces, review the asset base and look at how improvements could be funded.
"The concept of aspiring to regional (sporting) level status is where we have to go and I don't think many would disagree with that because from a representative point of view it's a higher level of competition and with the money it brings in, it's a win-win," he said.
The mayor said a review of sporting facilities had been on his wish list for some time but the council's wastewater reuse scheme had loaned greater priority.
He argued it made sense for several sports to use one ground, as already occurred on a lower scale.
But Cr Kirk said sporting bodies would spot potential problems with the overall strategy, which would be taken on board.
He also defended the review of parks and reserves.
"The need to review your asset base, whether buildings or other property, is a constant of any business and from time to time we need to develop facilities or infrastructure for the community that's a current need," he said.
"We need to look at the financing of those and the fact that we have parks and reserves is fine but the question is, are they still needed and if not, can we dispose of them to achieve a better outcome for the community."
He stressed that no changes would be implemented without extensive consultation. Any proposed land sales would also require reclassification and a second round of consultation.
The strategy is on public exhibition until May 9.
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