500 signatures reached
To: Bathurst Regional Council
Its time... Bathurst Athletics Centre
Bathurst Little Athletics, on behalf of all Track and Field participants in local clubs, schools, sporting groups and university students call on Bathurst Regional Council to prioritise the allocation of land for a Track and Field Facility to service the needs of schools and clubs throughout the district.
Why is this important?
The Bathurst Region currently does not have a facility able to host a track and field event that is safe and fair. Indeed, this year our two high schools, Bathurst High and Kelso High have been unable to host safe athletics carnivals for the whole school due to the lack of a venue that meets requirements to keep their students safe. Other schools have relied on the kindness of McKillop College to help host safe events. Even so, their track is well shy of the 8 lane, 400m required by basic standards and the field event facilities are well short of the standard needed. Current occupational health and safety standards are not met at council owned facilities, nor are the requirements needed to host an athletics event of any competitive nature. Last year we nearly had a discus in flight hit a member of the public during an athletics club night due to the lack of appropriate fencing.
No school in the Bathurst region is currently able to hold an athletics carnival at a venue that meets basic standards for athletics as set down by the IAAF or Athletics Australia. Morse Park is inadequate for the role it is undertaking. The Sports Ground is a round cricket venue unable house the 2X 100 metre straights and 2 x 100 bends of a standard 400m athletics track. Certainly the cricket community would be less than impressed with a javelin landing in the pitch at the centre of this new facility. Given that Track and Field has and continues to form the basis of all sports across its many disciplines since ancient times, we encourage Bathurst regional council move to address this issue in our “sporting city”. We would never ask Cricket to play on a rectangular pitch or Football Codes to compete without posts, but Track and Field has endured substandard facilities in our city for decades.
As Bathurst’s population continues to grow, we call on Bathurst Regional Council to identify and set aside land specifically for the future development of a track and field specific venue. This is integral for the future of the sport in Bathurst, facilitating not only local sports clubs but complementing the educational curriculum of all schools, public, catholic and independent across the region. Previous requests have largely fallen upon deaf ears and we believe now is the time for council to commit to such a project moving forward before the increasing urbanisation rules out land capable of hosting such a venue.
Track and Field is participated in by every single child at school in our region and therefore this facility would be used annually by every family with a child at school; a high use facility. Indeed between club meets, group training sessions and school’s use, such a venue would receive year round patronage. School carnivals and seasons traditionally run April/May, finishing in November with large carnivals in Sydney. Athletics as a club sport begins in September/October and continues through to March after the State Championships. Done properly, such a venue has the ability to generate over $1 million into the local economy annually, through hosting of larger zone and regional carnivals both for club and school and university level events. Visitors to Bathurst from outside the region would be spending in fuel, meals and accommodation in our city for endurance events and larger 2 day athletic meets.
An allocation of land for athletics would need to comfortably accommodate an IAAF standard international 400m athletics track with two 100m straights and two bends, throwing (shot put, discuss, hammer and javelin) and high jump facilities inside the track and have both long jump and triple jump pits (an area of roughly 180 long by 120m wide before amenities). Planning needs to allow for an all-weather surface as and when funding becomes available. This is imperative for our para athletes who currently have no other option but to travel to Sydney or Dubbo to train due to the lack of all-weather synthetic athletic surfaces in Bathurst. In fact, no such venue currently exists between Blacktown and Dubbo. Such a venue needs to be secure so that kindergarten aged children or our Tiny Tots and U6 athletes can compete without fear of wandering onto surrounding roads, go to the bathroom without fear of intrusion or get changed in safe surrounds. Should these conditions be met, local school principals already canvassed would support the project. An all weather track is needed in future to level the playing field with the same track surface conditions regardless of moisture, weather or general surface condition as those in metro areas.
The athletics track at Morse Park is no longer appropriate nor safe to use. It does not conform to modern OH&S standards from athletics bodies. Morse Park is a multiple use facility with the busy highway running next door, no appropriate fencing, no canteen, no shelter, no change rooms, showers or adequate toilets. It has inadequate throwing (discuss, shot put, hammer throw and javelin) facilities situated at the site and non conforming runways for jumping. Additionally, most local school principals would struggle to hold a carnival there as it simply would not pass any modern school risk assessment criteria. Bathurst is also not in a position to host University Championships due to the lack of such a facility despite hosting one of the biggest CSU Campuses here in town.
This proposed venue will be used by every school and all students and their families at least annually in our sporting city for generations to come. We urge council to closely examine options so that we as a city have the kind of community use facility that can safely, fairly and comfortably host Track and Field events without compromise, from local school to large regional and championship events in the future.