Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope was opened in January 2016 but is now in a state of decay.
Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope was opened in January 2016 but is now in a state of decay. Matt Harris

Liz Cunningham park left to rot all year

IT'S the $2.5 million white elephant that's been dogging Gladstone Regional Council for more than a year.

But one councillor says the current state of decay at Calliope's Liz Cunningham Park will soon be rectified.

The 49-hectare park on Racecourse Rd has two football fields, a cricket ground, shared clubhouse and amenities.

But in its current state visitors to the park have a greater chance of catching a snake in the overgrown grass rather than catching a cricket or soccer ball.

The park was designed to ease the overuse of nearby Bunting Park, but a series of stuff ups in the design and construction phases have seen local sporting clubs move back to Bunting until the Liz Cunningham park undergoes costly earthworks to correct the dodgy playing surface.

The original design had a lofty intention in mind - to replicate the field layout of Lord's cricket ground in London, which features a prominent two-metre drop from one side of the field to the other.

While the slant at Lord's runs across the field to assist with drainage, the slant at Liz Cunningham Park runs from one end of the field to the other, meaning bowlers at one end of the cricket pitch are forced to run uphill.

Fixing the problem could end up costing ratepayers up to $600,000.

GALLERY | Liz Cunningham Park's current condition

However Councillor Peter Masters said the GRC would do everything in its power to ensure the repair work comes in under budget and that a mistake of this magnitude was not repeated.

"We've done a thorough review of the processes that occurred to get to this outcome and put plans in place to ensure it doesn't happen again," Cr Masters said.

"At the end of the day the buck has got to stop with us (council).

"I feel sorry for the clubs who have been caught in the crossfire.

"Those clubs (Calliope Football Club and Calliope Cricket Club) have been very reasonable in what they're asking for.

"The facility wasn't fit for its purpose so they both returned to Bunting Park.

"It's no good to the community in the state it's in now."

Cr Masters said work to correct the park will begin within the next four to six weeks.

A statement from the council said that the field remained in its current overgrown state because the turf will soon be ripped up again.

It is expected the field will be redesigned and completed in time for the winter football season next year.

Calliope Cricket Club plans to work on the wicket itself once other works are complete.

Former Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham was unavailable for comment.

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