Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

Wet weather ground closures: extend sports season, says Wollongong councillor

More weekend soccer games have been cancelled than played this season, said Wollongong Councillor Mithra Cox, who has called for the 2024 winter sporting season to be extended.

Councillor Cox, herself a keen soccer player, will move at Monday's meeting of Wollongong City Council that the season be extended, and that the city develop a longer-term climate adaptation plan which would include better drainage and shade at council grounds.

"This is the second season in three years to have severely restricted community sports through ongoing wet weather," Cr Cox said.

"Many teams have played less than five games since April, with more games being cancelled than have been played," she said.

"This is incredibly frustrating, especially for the hundreds of new football players who have registered off the back of the Matildas' success at the World Cup.

"To keep those players engaged, we need a way to ensure they can actually play."

Cr Cox said alternative venues, including schools, could be explored for use on weekends.

"While some solutions will need time and money and planning, there are some quick fixes that could be employed to extend the season this year.

"With the simple addition of line markings and temporary goals, some unused fields could be freed up to enable the season to overlap with the cricket season, or we could work with schools to access some of their grounds."

 

Greens candidate for Wollongong Lord Mayor Jess Whittaker said solutions would take time to they should be planned now.

"We are already seeing climate impacts significantly impacting community sport, and we know that these impacts are only forecast to get worse," she said.

"It's important to start planning now so that our community members of all ages can continue to play sport in the summer or winter seasons. Facilities like all weather multi-use sports venues are big and expensive and take many years to fund, so the work needs to start now if we are to have these sportsgrounds in the future."

 

Story by Ben Langford in the Illawarra Mercury, 5 July 2024.