Dear TVFC Members,
Trafalgar Victory FC will be holding a meeting next week with representatives from the Baw Baw Shire Council Recreation team members to discuss their recent decision to allow the Trafalgar Football and Netball Club’s senior squad to train on the soccer grounds on the same night as TVFC holds training.
Please be assured that the club is extremely frustrated with a number of issues relating to this decision and how this process has been managed.
As a club we acknowledge that the grounds are owned and managed by Baw Baw Shire and are aware of the “3 year” model in place that plans for wider community access. However, before opening the grounds up to additional users in the middle of our soccer season, Trafalgar Victory asked BBSC to consider the following points:
- As the primary user of the soccer grounds, Trafalgar Victory FC has invested in excess of $90K towards this facility in the form of fencing, player shelters, pavilion and practice goals. We are not merely a tenant, we are a significant stakeholder and investor in this facility. As such we appreciate both consultation and consideration.
- The mentioned “3 year model” is based upon the advice provided by the Turf consultant who oversaw the planting of both the rye grass and couch. The 3 year duration was chosen on the understanding that it would take at least three summers of couch growth to allow the drought resistant couch grass to overtake the make shift rye grass as the main variety of ground cover.
As can be seen from the above pictures, the grounds have not yet had three summers over which the couch grass could grow. The past two summers have resulted in the couch grass nearly dying with no significant growth witnessed at all. Currently, the rye is still the prominent grass variety present. For this reason alone the grounds require restricted use, rather than expanded use.
- TVFC in the last week alone have received requests;
Churchill Soccer Club – to relocate all matches for the round to Trafalgar
Korumburra Soccer Club – to relocate all matches for the round to Trafalgar
Gippsland Soccer League – to relocate their Under 13 & 15 boys metropolitan matches to Trafalgar
Football Federation Victoria – Zone Development Office to run Gippsland tryouts at Trafalgar for the Melbourne City Youth Squad
Every week our club is approached to hold relocated matches as most Gippsland grounds are currently flooded. If we accepted these matches our ground too would be destroyed and chopped up like every other ground in Gippsland. Saying “no” to your league and state body is difficult. However, whilst the grounds are in their infancy, both our club and Baw Baw Shire must show strong leadership for the long term good of the facility.
- TVFC postponed training over the recent holidays so that the grounds could drain and recover. The club doesn’t simply say no to others. Rather our committee makes informed and considered management decisions that will benefit the grounds long term.
- TVFC has a very realistic chance of hosting the South Gippsland Soccer League final in 2014. Such an event will only be possible if our grounds are maintained and managed well throughout the season. This opportunity would provide excellent promotion for both the club and shire. Overloading the ground use at this time of the season will simply damage both the grounds and the opportunity of hosting such an event.
- Currently TVFC has training for approximately 130 players across two nights. This as it stands is too much wear on the ground already. Adding additional usage is not a viable option.
- Right now the grounds are beginning to “chop up”. The western sideline of the western side pitch looks just like the Trafalgar footy ground. Additional usage is not a responsible management plan at this stage in the year. Is the goal for both facilities to be unplayable?
- BBSC’s very own Trafalgar Parks and Garden’s team have acknowledged that damage will occur to the grounds if the training goes ahead. Why wouldn’t the BBSC Recreation team take on board the advice of their own Parks and Garden team? As you very well know, we are talking about a $1Million playing surface unrivalled across Victoria. Are BBSC prepared to repair the damaged pitches? What would turf replacement cost the shire? Can such repairs be successfully carried out prior to the final series?
- It is inappropriate to schedule footy training on the same night as the soccer training. Thereby placing 120 players upon the two pitches. As a result our women’s team have been “kicked” off their training ground. Not exactly promoting women’s participation in sport. TVFC has managed the grounds via training rotation so that areas aren’t worn out. Both pitches will suffer as a result of this impending decision.
- The proposed training pitch allocated for the footy players has only half lighting. Given their sport involves flighted balls there will be a risk associated whilst training under inadequate lighting. TVFC is not prepared to be held responsible if an injury is sustained.
- In the Seasonal Lease Agreement which is current from 1st April 2012 – 31st December 2014 it states the permitted use as “For the purpose of conducting soccer training, matches and associated club activities”. This 3 year period is still current and therefore adding football training on the pitches at this time of the year would be non-compliant and in breach of the agreement.
- The Seasonal Lease Agreement also states that: 10.2 “The Council must use all reasonable endeavours to cause as little disruption as possible to the Permitted Use of the Lincensed Area in exercising the Council’s rights under this clause” The management of this situation has indeed created considerable disruption and has got to the point whereby the club is considering cancelling all training tomorrow night as a result.
- When TVFC had no access to its grounds over recent seasons, we found alternatives such as swimming, gym, street runs. We used public parks, the old soccer grounds on the Trafalgar High School and even one season trained in Warragul for 3 months straight as our grounds were flooded. There are always alternatives available, as we know only too well.
- Our financial members also deserve to have full access to their grounds during the entire season, rather than have to compromise their training schedule at the expense of another club.
These are just a selection of discussion points raised with the Baw Baw Shire Council Recreation team. Unfortunately they and many others fell on deaf ears and the TFNC senior squad indeed did train on the grounds for 2 hours on Thursday 24th July. In response TVFC cancelled all training to minimise damage to the grounds.
Hopefully common sense and reason will prevail at next week’s meeting. If you would like to express your concerns or frustration with Baw Baw Shire’s management of the situation, please do so by contacting our local ward councillors Cr Murray Cook and Cr Peter Kostos via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.