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New soccer pitch to kick participation goals

New soccer pitch to kick participation goals

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Soccer players will be celebrating after plans to install a new synthetic soccer pitch at Harvest Home Road Recreation Reserve moved a step closer this week. 

The City of Whittlesea voted at Tuesday night’s Council Meeting to award the tender for a new FIFA-accredited synthetic pitch and lighting to replace the one installed back in 2008, which no longer meets the needs of tenant Whittlesea Ranges Football Club or the wider community. 

The pitch redevelopment is expected to increase usage by 52 per cent – or 17 hours – per week and create opportunities to grow the club’s female and junior programs. 

Whittlesea Ranges FC council liaison David Sforzato said the upgrade would improve safety and be a drawcard for prospective players. 

He said the club intended to field a senior women’s team next year and aimed to boost female participation across all age groups. 

“If female players see that we have state-of-the-art facilities then they will have the confidence to join our club,” he said. 

City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said Council’s Active Whittlesea Strategy 2019-2028 identified the lack of suitable facilities as a significant barrier to female participation in all sports. 

“This redevelopment will enable the club to grow their female participation and pathway programs by providing better facilities and improved access,” Ms Wilson said. 

“We also know that junior participation rates will grow in the coming years as the population increases, so this will allow the club’s juniors more access to top quality training facilities." 

The synthetic turf to be used will be made from 100 per cent Australian-made yarn manufactured in Victoria and designed to withstand heavy use. 

The pitch’s 25mm thick rubber underlay will be made from end-of-life truck tyre granules, thereby reducing the number of tyres entering landfill. 

The $2 million project will be funded by the City of Whittlesea, with the Victorian Government contributing $500,000 from its World Games Facilities Fund 2022. 

Construction is scheduled to commence in August 2023.