SPORTING clubs could be asked to ‘adopt a field’ as part of a council plan to change the way local parks and gardens are maintained.
A form on council’s website is seeking feedback from residents to assist in the development of a management plan for all 27 parks currently managed by council.
Council is considering reducing maintenance of some of its parks and sporting fields while it battles to overcome a crippling backlog of works and an increasingly dire financial future.
The service provider says that equipment and facilities at most of the shire’s smaller urban parks need to be renewed to bring them up to standard.
“However, whether dwindling financial resources are best directed to this needs to be considered and removal is therefore an option,” a council report says.
“Before doing this, the strategic direction of all urban parks needs to be considered.
“This involves determining the appropriate nature (being either active or passive) of each park and planning to support the aspirations of the community while also meeting the service levels identified in the Parks Plan of Management.”
Council says any planned upgrades to a local park would need to be fully funded and while grant money was sometimes available, upgrades are usually funded from council rate revenue.
“One way to fund the replacement of needed equipment and facilities and to upgrade Gloucester’s most visited parks is to reduce maintenance costs of the smaller parks,” the report said.
“This can be done by converting them to mainly passive areas and only retaining simple and easy to maintain equipment.
“Another option is to allow relevant sporting groups or clubs to ‘adopt’ the facility they use and take up the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep - similarly, an adopt-a-park program could also be an option where surrounding households could volunteer to maintain a nearby park by grass control.”
Council said if the maintenance of smaller parks was reduced, more money would become available for work at larger sites.
If clubs or groups did decide to ‘adopt’ a park it would be their responsibility to maintain the site through grass control, general upkeep, cleaning after events and ensuring the park met pre-determined levels of service at all times.
The response from Gloucester locals to the proposal has so far been less than enthusiastic.
“We maintain (Bert Gallagher Oval) to a certain extent now, this year we have top dressed the field, a couple of years ago we replaced the electricity pole that supplies the Rec Centre (at our cost),” user Gloucester Magpies posted on the Advocate’s Facebook page.
“We clean the dressing sheds after each game, we pay for the use of the lights and dressing sheds and supply the garbage bins for game day.
“What happens when a sporting club folds, which is on the cards as local businesses are struggling?
“In the future, businesses may not sponsor clubs which will make it impossible for some clubs to survive.
“And who maintains the ovals during the off season?”
Locals have until July 8 to respond to council’s proposal.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or handed over the counter at council's administration centre at 89 King St.