Brisbane City Council proposal to relocate community sport clubs sparks concern
Date of Publication:
Monday, 29 March 2021
ABC Radio Brisbane
Softball, Council, Residents, Sports, Downey Park, Parking
Community & Softball coverage with responses from the Council.
A draft proposal to shuffle several community sporting clubs into different parks in Brisbane's inner-north has been met with concern from some clubs and neighbouring residents.
~ The draft Enoggera Creek Sport and Recreation Precinct Plan is out for public feedback
~ Some community sport clubs are concerned about its proposals
~ Residents are worried about increased traffic, parking and loss of greenspace
~ The Enoggera Creek Sport and Recreation Precinct draft plan — spanning 2.5 kilometres of parkland and sporting fields through Windsor, Wilston and Newmarket — was recently released by Brisbane City Council for public feedback.
The draft plan includes proposals to move softball facilities from Downey Park in Windsor, and baseball from Spencer Park in Wilston, to Finsbury Park in Windsor.
Cricket would then be moved to Downey Park, while more hard-court netball courts would be added to Northey Street and the existing dog park relocated.
At Spencer Park, McCook Park and Wilston Recreation Reserve, football would be given a dedicated precinct with natural turf and synthetic fields.
Two new synthetic hockey fields and a new multi-purpose indoor sport and community centre would go into Downey Park, and about 600 car parks would be built into the precinct.
The council said the plan aimed to meet long-standing need for overwhelmed sporting clubs to have more room, and to reduce car parking in small neighbouring streets.
Herston resident Cedric Chu is part of a community group that has sprung up against the proposal.
He said residents were principally concerned about the increase of single-use sporting facilities swallowing up public greenspace.
"The problem is that will fence off those grounds for genuine use of the locals, so you won't be able to throw a frisbee or run a dog because it's single-use rather than multiuse," Dr Chu said.
Some residents also object to the planned size of car parks, saying they could be used by hospital commuters rather than community park users, while increasing traffic into the precinct.
"The movement of our group is not to say to council 'go away'," Dr Chu said.
"We are all in favour of redesign, redevelopment and renovation.
"What we want is we want this plan to be scrapped and a proper consultation in face to face, or proper surveys, to happen."
Brisbane Panthers Softball Club secretary Leigh Martyn said Downey Park had been the historic home of women's sport in Brisbane for decades, and a suggestion her sport should relocate was "just a slap in the face".
"There's been 21 of 33 Olympic players that have honed their skills on our diamond and it's such a joy for the kids to watch," she told ABC Radio Brisbane.
But Brisbane City Football Club president Robert Rossi said his club desperately needed more space, which would be provided under the new proposals.
He said the 70-year-old football club could not accept any more teams and was turning away even social games, and now hires hockey fields to make room for junior practice.
"Without that we'd have to be turning lots of kids away," Mr Rossi said.
Under the proposal, he said new football fields should always be open to the public, and women's football could continue to grow.
Council's community spokeswoman Vicki Howard said the council consulted with local sport, recreation and community lessees on the draft plan before opening public feedback.
"This is just a draft plan and we encourage everyone to have their say, with every piece of community feedback received considered as we upgrade this much-loved inner city precinct," she said.
Local councillor Andrew Wines requested an extension on the consultation deadline of April 9 after strong community concern over the proposals, with a new end date of April 30.
"We are trying to get the best outcome for the community and sports clubs that have been raising these issues with me for years," Cr Wines told ABC Radio Brisbane.