THE $500,000-plus upgrade of the Wodonga hockey field has moved into full swing with contractors to begin laying the replacement surface on Monday.
Club volunteers and businesses have spent recent days removed the old turf and worn out shock pad which had degenerated to the point where division one Hockey Albury-Wodonga matches for men and women could no longer be played at the venue.
Melbourne-based contractor Tiger Turf was appointed by Wodonga Council with ratepayers contributing $345,000 to the project and Hockey Albury-Wodonga chipping in $175,000 plus in-kind support.
The pitch was created in 1996 and hasn’t had any major works since.
“The old surface was 20 years old and the shock pad had lost its effectiveness and the turf had matted together,” HAW president Bert Eastoe said.
“There have been no division one games in Wodonga for two years and it’s been far from ideal because it doesn’t allow the club to have home games.
“When it has been completed home and away games will return to Wodonga which will increase participation of the facility and participation in Wodonga hopefully as well.”
Mr Eastoe said the old surface wasn’t causing injuries, but had become sub-standard.
“It wasn’t any injury risk, but from a health and safety point of view the field wasn’t suitable and up to standard,” he said.
From a health and safety point of view the field wasn’t suitable and up to standardHockey Albury-Wodonga president Bert Eastoe
“We’re appreciative of the volunteers who have helped so far, along with businesses who have donated plant and equipment.”
The project will be completed by March ahead of the HAW season starting.
Mr Eastoe said discussions were underway with Albury and Wodonga councils for the removal of the old playing surface which had been heaped up next to the pitch.
“We will try and recycle as much as we can, but there is some which is not suitable for recycling and will unfortunately need to go into landfill,” he said.
Wodonga Hockey Club committeeman Kyle Brereton said the pending works had lifted morale among members.
“When you are trying to build a club it is important to have division one men’s and women’s games on showcase in your own city,” he said.
Council owns the facility with the club the major tenant.