If Cumberland Council Administrator Viv May gets his way a new Cumberland Oval may rise from the ashes in Granville Park next year.
The existing sporting facilities at Granville Park would become unrecognisable under a bold plan to replace the outdated structure along Montrose Avenue with a new, state-of-the art pavilion including major upgrades to the playing fields estimated to cost $9 million.
Former Cumberland Oval was burnt down following Parramatta League’s first premiership victory in 1981. It is now the site of the new Western Sydney Stadium.
To recognise the new local government area Mr May has asked the General Manager to liaise with the appropriate authorities to have Granville Park renamed Cumberland Oval.
Mr May said he was disappointed that he was not in a position to approve the project prior to the caretaker period a month out of the September election.
“I am not in the practice of raising community expectation with financial fantasy but I had to wait for the Council’s resource plan which was approved at the last meeting. The plan clearly shows the project is affordable,” Mr May said.
Council has released early concept work that shows a modern facility boasting ample elevated seating for a better crowd experience, four change rooms for male and female athletes, strength and conditioning gym and separate rooms for time keepers and referees.
“Western Sydney routinely produces world class athletes. Unfortunately the stadiums and grounds they train on and compete on are rarely of the same calibre,” Mr May said.
“There are too many past their use by date and women’s participation in organised sport has been neglected.
“Council has commenced an audit of what it has, but also, more importantly, what it needs. It will be up to the incoming councillors to set the priority.
“Hopefully the days of its not what you know but who you know are gone.”
The proposal has found an enthusiastic backer in the resident Two Blues Rugby Union Club. Craig Morgan, General Manager of the Two Blues, agrees something
“A new facility would be absolutely huge for us. Our current one just isn’t up to scratch for a premier level club,” Mr Morgan said.
“Our existing facilities make it hard for us to attract and retain players. The Shute Shield is televised on 7TWO but we lose out on potential sponsorship and promotional opportunities because the producers won’t film our home games.
“A great facility is not only good for us. It will lift the reputation of the whole area. At the moment when we host a visiting club, our facilities don’t reflect well on us or our local community.
“We see ourselves as representatives of Western Sydney. We don’t want people looking down at us. We want to break the stereotypes.”