ORANGE Waratah Sports Club Limited president Darren Sinclair believes $80,000 worth of upgrades to irrigation and drainage to the club’s main playing surface will greatly benefit the Orange community.
Set to be placed on public exhibition for a period of 28 days, the Orange City Council-funded project will help turn the club’s main sporting arena from a sometimes-swamp in winter to one of the premier soccer pitches in Western NSW.
And given the field receives a yearly total of 54,646 visitations, the upgrades are well worth it, according to Mr Sinclair.
He believes the improvements, which also include a further $90,000 worth of management and maintenance in council’s 2014-15 budget, will help the club adequately meet the increased demand on the field.
“Without the irrigation we can’t properly set up the two new fields as well. It’s a big plus for the town, more fields. It helps Little Athletics and junior clubs - junior soccer needs a lot more fields up here,” Mr Sinclair said.
The ground’s biggest user each year is the soccer.
Combined, senior and junior soccer contributes just over 17,000 visitations while the Orange Little Athletics Club has a total of 11,000 athletes run, jump and throw themselves at Waratahs each year.
Senior and junior rugby accounts for nearly 9000 visits per year while the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular brings an estimated 5000 revelers to the ground.
The new drainage system will also include a new pump and main line to water the rugby field, used by Orange City Rugby Club.
The water used to irrigate all surfaces comes from the dam on-site at Waratahs.
“It’s going to take a fair bit of money in the way of ag drains and dish drains to make the field up to spec. The grounds are being used a lot now,” Mr Sinclair added.
Although the Waratahs Sportsground has been ruled out as a potential location for a rectangular sporting complex, Cr Jason Hamling said he felt the $80,000 council funding was well allocated.
“If Waratahs didn’t provide that ground council would have to,” he said.
“We’ve helped Waratahs in the past and I hope council will help them in the future.”