Council lifts training ban at Oakes Oval
LISMORE Council will allow a local Aussie rules club to use the hallowed turf of Oakes Oval for training one night a week even though its earmarked to become a multi-million dollar sports hub.
Lismore Swans Football Club president Laura Cahill said they had reached out to council as their men’s reserves and women’s teams were disadvantaged having to train on nearby Mortimer Oval which, at three-quarters the size, is classed as a junior sporting ground.
Council’s manager of Major Recreation and Cultural Facilities, Tony Duffy, said initially they were prevented from allowing midweek training due to a 2003 policy which was reviewed and confirmed in 2018.
But on Thursday, Duffy announced that from next week, the Swans have been green-lighted to train at Oakes Oval.
Cahill said this was marvellous news.
“I’m very thankful that we are able to make use of the venue,” she said.
“Also we’re looking forward to working towards long-term arrangements with council.”
Duffy said COVID-19 was also taken into consideration.
“Because of the current congestion around Mortimer Oval, we are allowing their senior team to train at Oakes Oval one night a week for the rest of the season, until we can work through the ongoing training and arrangements,” he said.
Cahill who led the women’s team in back-to-back premiership wins in 2017-18, said the club would continue to work positively with council.
“I appreciate their concerns regarding the ground’s integrity,” she said.
“However, the impact we have at Oakes Oval is currently 0.02 per cent of the ground’s annual availability, training there two nights a week increases it to 0.04 per cent.”
AFLQ Infrastructure Manager, Cobey Moore said many other council-managed grounds in Australia allow their community AFL rules club to train at their premier facilities.
“AFLQ remains supportive of the Lismore Swans request to council for greater access to the venue for midweek training,” he said.
“This position is not inconsistent with other ‘Premier Sporting Venues’ in regional areas.”