Hockey pitch close to completion
AFTER 14 years of lobbying, and receiving $1.4 million of Federal Government funding the Gladstone Hockey Association is ready to lay down a synthetic pitch.
The 12-week construction period is set to begin about a fortnight after the September 4 grand finals, with Rockhampton engineering firm Cardno contracted to supervise the project.
Following the long battle to garner the funding, GHA president Dave Burns said he was disappointed with the State Government's general neglect of sport in Gladstone.
“We've been completely ignored by the State Government, with all the money that goes out of Gladstone over the years we've been completely ignored,” he said.
“The Federal Government gave us $1.1 million and we'd never have had it if not for Chris Trevor.
“We are disgusted, absolutely disgusted with the State Government for its lack of support, not only in hockey but in all sports in this town ... they've been found wanting.
“I think everyone in town is happy, the hockey fraternity is happy, but we need more spent on sport in town.”
Burns said it was a long overdue step in the right direction for hockey in the area.
“We were the only regional centre in Queensland for years that never had a synthetic (pitch) and our juniors and seniors have struggled every time they go away to state competitions, purely because there are two sets of skills,” he said. “Playing on grass is a different game to playing on synthetic, so as of next year we'll be on an equal footing with everyone else and we expect hockey to thrive in town. It's been 75 years since hockey started in Gladstone and we're finally on a level with everyone else.”
The new pitch is expected to entice a lot of new blood to Gladstone hockey, particularly amongst the city's youth.
“We expect our numbers to expand, we're into the schools already but we expect now the new turf to attract more kids into hockey,” Burns said.
“We've got a very strong school competition running but that will be expanded and we expect to go from strength to strength now”
The Gladstone hockey centre will retain two existing high quality grass fields.