$4.6 million upgrade set to transform Hallett Cove sports ground

10 August 2017

A HALLETT Cove sports ground overhaul – costing up to $4.6 million – has been added to Marion’s $40 million list of major leisure projects in the pipeline.

The council is looking to upgrade Capella Reserve, with a new soccer clubroom, improved pitches, new skating and riding areas, a playground, trails and multipurpose sports court.

Elected members have been presented with rough costings for an overhaul, which would help cater for population growth in the south, and a shortage of soccer space in the district.

Mayor Kris Hanna said the proposal came back to “what this council found when we were elected two-and-a-half years ago – that a lot of infrastructure was run down”.

“We needed to improve sports infrastructure especially – it’s not because we’re sports mad, it’s because the community deserves better.”

Marion has recently won state and federal funds to turn several long-awaited projects from a pipedream into a reality.

These include an $8 million overhaul of Edwardstown Oval, a new soccer ground at Majors Rd, O’Halloran Hill, costing $5 million, and a $3.5 million international-standard BMX track next door. The council has funding for all of those projects, with ground works due to start soon.

Councillors at a committee meeting last week discussed three options for an upgrade at Capella Reserve, with pricetags ranging from $900,000 to $4.6 million.

Also planned is a $20 million upgrade of Mitchell Park Sports and Community Club and a $3.5 million upgrade of the Marion Outdoor Pool.

The Cove Football Club president Leo De Pretis said his players would benefit from the replacement of a “dilapidated” building at Capella Reserve, which houses toilets, change rooms and a storeroom.

“What’s there at the moment is old and starting to fall apart,” he said.

“Our juniors are playing and training there and there’s no shelter. We’ve got 150-plus kids playing games and (when) it rains, good luck.”

Mr De Pretis said a proposal to turn two small pitches into one large one – to add to the Capella Drive ground’s other full-sized pitch – would also give the club more flexibility for its games.

His club plans to move its senior headquarters from The Cove Sports and Community Club to the new Majors Rd centre when it’s complete, but with 300 members, will still need Capella Reserve for its juniors.

Mr De Pretis said the park was “a beautiful spot”, but needed a spruce up.

“If they do their homework and get it right, it would be a great entertaining area for the kids,” he said.

Councillors last week asked staff to collate more information about the area’s changing demographics and the demand for sports grounds before they debated the development’s scale.

Marion Deputy Mayor Ian Crossland said the council may consider demolishing the reserve’s skate park and building a new one.

“The carparking and skate park are pretty poor,” he said.

“The carpark is just a small gravel one and gets a lot of dumped rubbish because it’s hidden – it’s pretty daggy-looking.”

The overhaul may also include a bike pump track – where cyclists use their own momentum to travel around the track rather than pedal, fitness equipment and lighting upgrade.

Marion will look into the potential of getting state funding in the lead up to the March election.