As 16,700 players emerged from lockdown to once again take to the field, North Sydney Council were on the front foot, looking out for Business and Community groups throughout their region to ensure ‘business as usual’ returned.
Mayor of North Sydney, Jilly Gibson, watched on in delight as the North Sydney United Under 11’s played a midweek match at Primrose Park on Wednesday evening, ecstatic to see football and community sport in general being played once again.
Mayor Gibson was joined by Simon Cox (North Sydney Utd President) and Edward Ferguson (NSFA CEO) as 20 young, eager, and smiling players competed in a local North Sydney derby.
Ferguson praised Mayor Gibson and the council for their proactive approach to supporting their community,
“Working alongside North Sydney Council to receive a complete ground hire waiver for July and August to support ourselves and community Clubs will provide a much-needed boost to the sport.”
Community football was put on hold on the 17th March, with uncertain times lurking ahead. The announcement to kick off on the 1st July was met with applause, however, financially there have been significant impacts throughout the country.
Ferguson continued “Ground hire use is our largest expense each season and support from councils in this way ensures we can continue to invest in local initiatives that put our players, members and the community first”.
Simon Cox and North Sydney Utd thanked both North Sydney Council and NSFA for their generous support during COVID, taking into consideration the impact throughout the community and providing reduced fees to reflect this.
Mayor Gibson and Ferguson took the time on the ground to discuss the future of Primrose Park, with the Council undertaking a trial of Hybrid turf at the harbour end of Primrose 1.
“NSC are leading the way in thinking and innovation of sports grounds with their 2020 trial of hybrid turf in the goalmouth, the most high traffic area of a football field. We hope this trial paves the way for the future as a nice middle ground between natural grass and full synthetic fields”.
Mayor Gibson and Cox discussed the future plans to reposition Primrose Park, increasing the capacity of the field through the creation of an additional football field.
Cox commented “With the North Sydney population continuing to increase and the popularity we are seeing of football in the area, we certainly welcome the Mayors plans to increase capacity of fields and provide vital field space for future residents of the area”
The addition of fields is a priority of many Northern Sydney councils after the publication of the 2018 NSROC report which highlighted an additional 10,000 participants in football by the year 2036. Ferguson commented
“Future planning can be hard, particularly at a time like COVID, however the leadership our northern councils show will be integral to the livability of Sydney-north in the future and our push to being a healthier, more active Australia.”
The NSFA is set to conclude their season on October 4, and wishes to thank summer sports for their understanding of the impact of COVID and ‘sharing the pain’ by giving permission for football to use the fields beyond their usual end of August deadline.