Pitch Update March 2022

By now members will be aware of the recent commitments by the City of Mitcham and our local Labor candidates, in the upcoming State election, to provide funding for our proposed hockey pitch development at the Unley High School.

This Newsletter provides an update on the steps your FHC Board has taken to achieve this.

Turning an idea into a project

In April 2020 we started developing the idea of a new home for Forestville at the Unley High School. To turn that idea into a deliverable project we have:

  • Secured the support of the School and approval from the Minister for Education to use part of the School site for a new pitch,
  • Obtained the approval of the Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing to extend the time for using the grant money held by the club and to use the grant at the Unley High School,
  • Investigated the site, developed concept plans, and obtained cost estimates,
  • Prepared a Business Case to confirm new pitch is justified and financially viable.

Project outline

The concept plans for our new home include:

  • A new synthetic FIH compliant pitch. It is likely to be a hybrid sand dressed surface suitable for wet or dry use and will be set up to support hockey, netball, and touch football,
  • Fencing, landscaping and modern lighting,
  • A tech bench and team benches,
  • A Club room to support after training and match day use,
  • Change rooms.

An updated cost estimate obtained in November 2021 indicates a total project cost of between $3.9 and $4.1 million.

The pitch will be used by the school during school hours and by the club out of school hours.

How will we pay for the new pitch and buildings?

The club holds $1 million in grant money received from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing in 2018 which was received to build a pitch as part of the Women’s Memorial Playing Field redevelopment. This project proceeded without including the planned synthetic playing surfaces.

Completing the full planned development at Unley High School will require an additional $3 million. We can stage the development if we only secure a part of the total budget.

Since January 2021 the club has actively sought the additional funds. We have:

  • Applied for further grants from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing through their funding programs,
  • Met with our local members of the State and Federal parliaments to seek their advice and support in seeking funds from the State and Federal governments,
  • Made deputations to the City of Mitcham and the City of Unley and submitted detailed requests for funding support,
  • Written to the Premier and the State Leader of the Opposition to seek their support for the project,
  • Presented our concept plans and Business Case to elected members of parliament, and candidates from both major parties and Independents in the upcoming State and Federal elections seeking their support for our project,

What we have achieved!

The City of Mitcham, at its meeting on 8 February 2022, committed to provide $140,000 towards the project. Their commitment is contingent on the club securing sufficient funds to complete a first stage development including the new pitch with fencing and lighting and on addressing on-site parking, certain environmental concerns and undertaking community consultation.

The City of Unley have advised that our request for funding will be considered by the Council as part of its 2022-23 budget setting process.

Nadia Clancey, the Labor candidate for Elder, has announced a Malinauskas Labor Government will commit an additional $2 million to the development of a new synthetic pitch and clubrooms at Unley High School.

Together, the commitments by the City of Mitcham and a Malinauskas Labor government, will enable the club to build a new pitch along with a clubrooms.

Acknowledgements

The club’s Pitch sub-committee of Ali Boag, Peter Schembri, Paul Blenkiron and Simon Marsh have worked for the last 7 years to find a new home for our club. The sub-committee has received advice, support and encouragement from many people from within and outside the club and this assistance has been invaluable.

We would like to acknowledge and thank:

  • All of our local members of the State and Federal parliaments and the candidates for the upcoming State and Federal elections who have met with us to understand our club’s needs and our proposed development. They have been consistently enthusiastic about our proposal and have provided valuable advice and encouragement.
  • The elected members and management of both the City of Mitcham and the City of Unley who have invited us to present to their councils and to consider our funding requests.
  • The City of Mitcham for their funding commitment of $140,000 towards the project.
  • The Unley High School staff and School Council and the Minister for Education who have embraced the opportunity to develop a shared school and community asset at the school.
  • The Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing and the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing who have varied the terms of our grant agreement to permit us to use the $995,000 grant at the Unley High School and to extend the time for using the grant to enable us to develop the concept plans and seek the additional funding we require to complete the project.

Most importantly we acknowledge the State Labor election commitment of an additional $2 million funding for the project and thank our local Labor candidates, Nadia Clancey, Jayne Stinson, Ryan Harrison and Catherine Hutcheson.

The next steps

The club will continue to promote our project and to seek bi-partisan support to fund the development.

As State and Federal election campaigns progress, we ask you all to contact your local State and Federal candidates to tell them how much a new home will mean to our club, your participation in Hockey and our local school and sporting communities.