THE HON ALAN TUDGE MP
MINISTER FOR POPULATION, CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
MICK DE BRENNI MP
MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND PUBLIC WORKS, DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND SPORT
CR JENNY HILL
MAYOR OF TOWNSVILLE
State-of-the-art turf destined for the new North Queensland Stadium in Townsville is growing so well in the lush tropical north that it already needs its first “haircut”.
Being prepared by turf farmers Pat and Fabia Fortini on their property in the Thuringowa electorate, the turf will provide a “ready-to-play” surface once installed.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart joined Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper at local company Fortini Turf to oversee Queensland’s most anticipated turf being mown for the first time.
“The North Queensland Stadium is being delivered as promised, with 80% of the build now complete and here we see the turf rapidly maturing too,” Mr Stewart said.
Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said he couldn’t wait to see the turf laid at the new stadium in just a few short months.
“The North Queensland Stadium has been such a long time coming, and to see the grass grow as the stadium itself grows out of the ground is very exciting,” he said.
Mr Harper said that Pat and Fabia Fortini were just two of the hundreds of local business people working on the world-class stadium project.
“Once installed it will be a high-tech surface ensuring unforgettable games, and the best thing is that it’s home grown.”
While it may take only half an hour or so to mow a residential lawn, the stadium’s 11,000 square metres of Greenlees Park couch will take the Grounds Manager about an hour and a half – but depending on seasonal conditions, it can need mowing every day.
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the new stadium would bring an experienced local team with it.
“Grounds Manager Bruce Fouracre has been looking after the hallowed turf at 1300SMILES since 2008.
“The North Queensland Stadium is being built by locals for locals and Cowboys fans can be reassured that from seed to mow, the pitch is in safe hands.”
Bruce Fouracre said it wasn’t enough to wait until next year when the stadium opens.
“The turf is a living thing and we’re taking the time to get to know what it needs right here on the Fortini farm.”
HG Sports Turf general manager Erik Kinlon said he is thrilled to bring the ‘ready-to-play’ turf to Townsville for the first time.
“HG Sports Turf has successfully delivered stadia playing surfaces, using our proprietary hybrid turf systems, for more than 20 years both here in Australia and globally and in some of the world’s most iconic stadiums,” Mr Kinlon said.
“The process to establish and manage the turf until it is harvested for the North Queensland Stadium has been specially tailored for North Queensland and the anticipated usage regime of the new stadium.
“We are working closely with the team at Fortini Turf to ensure everything from the irrigation and fertiliser through to the harvesting, transport and installation is to international standards.”
Deputy Mayor Les Walker said he was impressed with the progress made since the grass was seeded in early August.
“It is brilliant to see this team of experts coming together, not only to prepare the turf but also to upskill local workers in the ongoing care of this turf technology,” Cr Walker said.
“Together, they are ensuring that the turf is grown, moved to the stadium seamlessly and cared for in preparation for the stadium opening in February 2020 and beyond.”
The expert team consists of Townsville-based Mendi Group, responsible for the stadium’s pitch civil works, HG Sports Turf, the Fortinis and the 1300SMILES stadium grounds crew.
The North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland Government, Australian Government and Townsville City Council and is supported by both the National Rugby League and the North Queensland Cowboys. The project forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.