Camden Council under the pump for poor state of Doohan Reserve

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The thing that mostly frustrates the Oran Park Rovers football club is trying to figure out how their home, Doohan Reserve, can be in such a poor state just three years after being opened.

Out of the four playing fields only two are fit for the purpose and it is clear the club will need an alternative home ground this soccer season, which is scheduled to start in March.

Last week Sam Dayaa, who is a coach with the Rovers and his two children play for the club, took me on an inspection of the entire Doohan Reserve precinct, which from a distance looks like a pretty good facility.

In fact the Rovers’ website describes it thus: “This state-of-the-art sporting facility boasts 4 full-size pitches and a modern, split-level clubhouse.’’

But a closer inspection reveals that the playing surface of at least two fields, which is fairly important in the scheme of things, is a shocker.

Uneven in several section, sand exposed in other parts, and with a number of deep divots, it would be a recipe for disaster if play was allowed on these playing surfaces.

The club is also pushing for a picket type fence right around the playing fields and a high net to stop the ball from going into the reserve next to field one, and 7into the landscaping between field four and the adjacent tennis courts.

“It’s really frustrating during play having to spend a few minutes trying to find the ball that’s gone in there because the ball stopper erected is just not enough,’’ the club said.

Following a meeting between the Rovers and council’s sport and recreation department, this media statement, attributable to a Camden Council spokesperson, was released to the South West Voice:

“Camden Council officers have been in discussion with the Oran Park Rovers club and again met with club executives on Thursday to discuss how Council can be of assistance in preparation for the upcoming season,’’ the spokesperson said.

“The fields at Doohan Reserve have undergone major works for sand slit drainage and unfortunately it takes time for the grass to grow over the areas that have been disturbed.

The clearly inadequate ball stoppers erected by Camden Council at Doohan Reserve in Oran Park. Photos: South West Voice Photography.

“Some of the recent actions Council has undertaken to give the fields the best chance of recovery include insect treatments, liquid fertiliser treatments, granular fertiliser treatments, top dressing and the returfing of the goalmouths and Council has adjusted and increased the irrigation program to assist with watering during the establishment period.

“At the meeting, Council raised an opportunity for the Rovers to continue pre-season training at an alternative venue until the end of March to give the areas most affected additional time to recover. This is currently being considered by the club.

“Additional sections of ball stop fencing are proposed to be installed. 

“A program of additional tree planting and sandstone blocks has been agreed to by the club and Council.

“The additional trees will provide canopy cover, shade and amenity for users of Doohan Reserve, as well as prevent vehicles from accessing the fields.

“Stage 1 has been implemented and future stages are proposed.

“Thankfully, there have not been any significant occurrences of damage to the surface from motorbikes and the only incident, which was in 2022, left minor damage and was repaired immediately.

“Council is committed to providing quality spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Rovers club.’’

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