UNDERWAY: Work has commenced on upgrading Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope.
UNDERWAY: Work has commenced on upgrading Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope. Andrew Thorpe

On the level: Council to fix $2.5M sports ground stuff-up

EFFORTS to fix a stuff-up of lordly proportions at a Calliope sports ground are now well under way.

Liz Cunningham Park was officially opened in January last year and was hailed as an essential boost to the town's sporting facilities, after being constructed at a cost of $2.5 million.

But it soon became apparent the ground was less than fit for purpose.

The cricket field had a two-metre slope from one side to the other, meaning bowlers would have faced an uphill battle to pick up speed in one direction, and those sending the ball down the other end would have been left stunned at their sudden prowess.

The design was based on Lord's Cricket Ground in London, which slopes across the pitch sideways to help drain the field, rather than sloping parallel to the pitch and affecting play.

GALLERY | Liz Cunningham park earlier this year

Several sports teams were forced to return to the overused Bunting Park following the debacle, and the new fields became overgrown and fell into disrepair while Gladstone Regional Council organised a fix.

The council agreed to pick up the full cost of the repairs, including the turfing, because the work local clubs had put in to grow grass on the unusable surface had gone to waste.

But as of the end of last month, the rectification works are proceeding at full pace.

At least nine trucks, bulldozers and graders were working on levelling the field on Wednesday.

UNDERWAY: Work has commenced on upgrading Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope.
UNDERWAY: Work has commenced on upgrading Liz Cunningham Park at Calliope. Andrew Thorpe

A council spokesperson confirmed the repairs had begun and workers were in the first stage of the operation, which was to correct the drainage and levels of the soccer and cricket fields.

"We expect this stage to be completed in the coming weeks," the spokesperson said.

"The second stage will establish vegetation, including turf, (and) plans for the park's irrigation are being finalised."

The final cost of the repairs is expected to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The finished park will reportedly include the cricket ground, two full-sized football fields, a 281sqm shared clubhouse, administration facilities and a 140-space car park.

The council expects the repairs to be completed and the grounds ready for action in time for the winter football season next year.



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