Hockey field during the floods earlier this year.
Hockey field during the floods earlier this year. Allan Reinikka ROK100417aflood6

Hockey backflip: Council scraps Parkhurst precinct plans

A PLAN to build an international-standard hockey precinct at Parkhurst has backfired, with Rockhampton Regional Council today revealing they had been forced to shift focus back to Kalka Shades.

An expansion of the Kalka site, which hosts one artificial turf and several grass fields, was ruled out in 2016 due to flooding issues.

Instead, the council voted to allocate a vacant 119ha site in Olive St, Parkhurst for the precinct which was set to include two synthetic and two grass fields.

Barbara Knowles from Rockhampton Hockey looks out over vacant land at Parkhurst which was to become home to the Hockey Association's new fields after a unanimous vote at a general meeting.
Barbara Knowles from Rockhampton Hockey looks out over vacant land at Parkhurst which was to become home to the Hockey Association's new fields after a unanimous vote at a general meeting. Chris Ison ROK261016chockey1

Funding was approved from the Federal and State governments, designs were developed for the precinct and the council authorised planning changes to the land to accommodate the move.

However, in September the council halted the project after quotes for the synthetic field construction had come in well above estimates.

Reports were presented to council about alternate options, but the Rockhampton Hockey Association in October voted to return to the original Kalka Shades plan.

The backflip has wider implications, with Rockhampton Cricket Incorporated losing a field in the process.

A report presented to the council today confirms cricket would be willing to cooperate, but would require assistance in development of new amenities.

Flooding Kalka Shades earlier this year.
Flooding Kalka Shades earlier this year. Allan Reinikka ROK060417aflood4

Cricket requires nine fields each weekend, and uses the field in question at Kalka to host major fundraising events.

To make up for the shortfall, cricket has asked the council to provide significant lighting for a second senior field at the Rockhampton Cricket Ground which is estimated to cost about $250,000.

Extra funding in the order of $5000 has also been requested for concrete and astro-turf at McLeod Park, which the council has proposed cricket lease.

Any changes at Kalka will take place after the cricket season concludes in March.

The change in location will also involve new building and development approvals.

The report stated the $4.9 million budget remained, less "expenditure to date including design and applications costs in respect of the Olive Street site”.

The Morning Bulletin has asked council to clarify this expenditure.

The report to council concluded all parties would have liked this issue resolved before now, but meeting the needs of the Rockhampton Hockey Association "has not been a simple nor easy process”.

"Whilst all would have preferred to see the hockey facilities and activities removed from a flood zone, this has not been possible having regard for the financial parameters and the unwavering requirements of RHA,” the report stated.

"A proportion of the funding obtained by the RHA relies on the achievement of those wants and needs.”

President of Rockhampton Hockey Club, Barbara Knowles, said after a "roller-coaster” few years for the association she was very happy the decision was made.

"We are really happy with the decision that has been made and now we can work to move forward now,” she said.

"We love it at Kalka and the only issue was every about the flooding.

"The fact that council has committed funding is the best we can hope for.

"Refurbishments will hopefully go ahead on the current turf and relay the carpet.”

Barbara said she looked forward to keep sharing the space with Rockhampton Cricket Incorporated saying both associations worked together.

The Morning Bulletin is seeking responses from the cricket organisation.

The Morning Bulletin is seeking responses from cricket organisations.



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