Hockey boost for Ballina

By Steve Spinks and Graham Broadhead

A MILLION dollar hockey field planned for Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, will help make the venue the premier sporting complex in the region.

The synthetic hockey field, which is being organised by the Ballina Hockey Club, had its development application approved by the Ballina Shire Council last week and will take its place alongside an excellent turf cricket oval, sealed netball courts and a top-class rugby league ground.

"Representative teams State and national play on artificial surfaces," Sue Hogden, secretary of the hockey club's turf committee, said.

"For our juniors to compete at representative levels, they need experience on this surface. This will give more of our juniors the opportunity to train and play locally." The field, which will be fenced and have floodlightling, will be situated between the rugby league ground and the turf cricket oval at the southern end of the leagues club carpark.

It is expected the facility will also encourage further participation in towns such as Byron Bay and Evans Head. Far North Coast Hockey president Clint Mallett has welcomed the news.

"It will add another dimension to the area," he said. "It will allow local players to play on a surface in another town (instead of just Lismore)."

It is expected the surface will be the same as that at Hepburn Park, Goonellabah, a water-based synthetic turf.

Funding is being sought from the State and Federal governments, while the hockey club has also received a substantial anonymous donation.

The club will continue fundraising until grants are received. Any business or individual wanting to help can contact Sue Hogden on 66816599.

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