GREEN GROUND: Volunteers currently maintain the fields at Queens Park, where football, rugby league, hockey and rugby union is played.
GREEN GROUND: Volunteers currently maintain the fields at Queens Park, where football, rugby league, hockey and rugby union is played. File

Fields of discrimination as Southern Downs Council reigns

IF THE Southern Downs Regional Council mows Stanthorpe sports fields, it should mow Warwick fields too, councillors agree.

The council has been mowing Stanthorpe fields for decades, providing support to the nine members of the Stanthorpe Sports Association to the tune of $90,000/year.

Meanwhile, their northern neighbours in Warwick have been going it alone.

For councillors, it comes down to consistency - and it won't come cheaply.

Early estimates show mowing sports fields could cost as much as $500,000 a year.

Cr Vic Pennisi said mowing fields came down to the question of what was the council's core business.

"Maintenance of those sporting fields is, in my view, the core business of council," he said,

"I believe we should transfer every one of our clubs to the model in Stanthorpe.

"This is one of the best investments council could make in continuing to support community groups."

Sports clubs in Warwick have welcomed council support with mowing, if there is no charge.

Should the council mow sporting fields in Warwick, as it does in Stanthorpe?

This poll ended on 06 November 2015.

Current Results

Yes

63%

No

36%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Former Cowboys president Maryanne Loudon said it would be ideal for the council to maintain Father Ranger Oval.

"In Stanthorpe, the council looks after the lights as well," she said.

"We have major problems with our lights - one bulb costs $500 and there's $17,000-$20,000 worth of repairs needed to them."

While Mrs Loudon welcomed council assistance, she said it should be done in conjunction with volunteers.

"We have three volunteers, sometimes four, and they've been mowing for the field for a long time," she said.

"They take so much pride in their work - I see those blokes enjoying it so much."

"There's small sporting clubs and big sporting clubs - it's not black and white, there's grey areas."

Similar views were shared by Warwick and District Football Association president Garry Spence.

Mr Spence said there had been many conversations in the past about mowing sports fields.

Currently members used their own mowers to mow around the clubhouse but shared a large mower (with other clubs) for the field.

"From our point of view, the council should be doing it," he said.

"But, if it comes down to the point they say they'll do it and then the clubs get a bill, it's not worth it."

Despite the calls for support, council CEO David Keenan said there wasn't enough staff to look after all sporting fields.

"There are financial implications around decisions like this - we don't have the staff or the plant equipment to do it," he said.

Stanthorpe costs

Field maintenance (mowing): $52,156

Water access: $7415

Water consumption: $1173

Sewerage: $527

Emergency services levy: $93

Waste disposal: $6760