$1.4m pitch at long last
IT has been a long time coming but at last it's official – Gladstone Hockey will have a synthetic field of dreams.
The key stakeholders in the 15-year turf crusade gathered at Rigby Park yesterday for the official announcement that local contractor Actprom will commence construction on an aquaturf hockey pitch this Monday.
After more than a decade of lobbying, Gladstone Hockey Association president Dave Burns was delighted to see the wheels finally in motion on the project.
“It's a tremendous leap for hockey and the city,” he said.
The $1.41 million project is the result of funding to the tune of $250,000 from Gladstone Regional Council, $84,000 from Gladstone Hockey and $1.1 million in Federal Government funding secured last year by former Member for Flynn Chris Trevor.
The ensuing three rounds of tenders yielded a series of exorbitant contracting quotes before Actprom owner Barry Houston came to the rescue, and at last the 18-week construction process can begin.
“This is fantastic, it's a great project for Gladstone and for hockey,” Mr Trevor said.
“This is one of the legacies I'll leave as the former Federal member.
"Each time I drive past here I'll have a warm feeling in my heart that the job was all worthwhile and that I did make a difference in the short time I was here.”
As the last regional centre in Queensland to attain a synthetic playing surface, Gladstone Hockey Association vice-president Jon Ogden is relieved that the region's juniors will be on a level playing field with the rest of the state.
“We've got some awesome young kids out here that get shadow or nearly get into state teams, but they don't have the skill on turf. Now when they apply for state they're level with everyone else,” he said.
Gladstone will also become viable to host more junior carnivals up to under-15 with the addition of a synthetic field.
Led by Gladstone Regional Council Sport and Recreation officer Steve Bankier, the funding scheme includes assistance for new local squash courts and a motorsport facility at Benaraby.