Council set to reopen sodden sporting grounds

Football

Council-owned sporting grounds closed last week due to recent heavy rainfalls are expected to reopen in time for this weekend’s matches.

City of Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said that unless more rain falls in Launceston between now and Saturday, all of those grounds should be available, including Rocherlea, South Launceston, Lilydale and Churchill Park.

Mayor van Zetten said at this stage, Invermay Park will remain closed until Thursday, but he was confident it would be available in time for weekend games.

“Our staff will do a further assessment later in the week, but at this stage we fully expect all of our grounds to be open,” Mayor van Zetten said.

“We did get some feedback last weekend when we announced those grounds would be closed, but I’m not sure people realise just how much rain has fallen across Northern Tasmania over the past month or so.

“It has been much more than previous years – about 30 per cent above the July average – so the impact to our sporting grounds has been considerable.

“Once a ground has been impacted in this way, it cannot be rejuvenated easily or quickly and it takes a significant amount of work to bring it back up to a standard that is safe to play on.

“No one wants to see these grounds closed – certainly not the Council – but player safety is our number-one priority when we make a decision to close a ground.”

Mayor van Zetten said that if a ground was water-logged or simply too soft, ground staff found it almost impossible to use machinery to mow or aerate the surface.

“We have also hired in giant fans to assist with this process, but that all takes time particularly when we’re not seeing a lot of sun or wind to help dry everything out,” Mayor van Zetten said.

“Some of these grounds will also be hosting NTFA finals so we are also trying to ensure the grounds are in as good a condition as possible for those games.”

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