Napier Oval fight looms as Cr Kingham opposes draft plan

Room for improvement: Napier Oval is the centre of a battle over the town's sporting priorities.
Room for improvement: Napier Oval is the centre of a battle over the town's sporting priorities.

Blayney Shire’s deputy mayor, David Kingham, has laid down the gauntlet in a fight between the futures of the three sporting grounds, Napier, Dakars and King George Ovals.

In the yet to be adopted Draft Blayney Shire Sport and Recreation Plan, the future for Napier Oval includes two cricket pitches, soccer fields for both junior and senior, cricket training nets, a perimeter fence to restrict vehicular access, drainage and irrigation works and a walking/running track around the oval.

What concerns Cr Kingham in that plan is the abandonment of Dakars Oval, with all funding for any proposed toilets, fencing or nets there being redirected to Napier Oval.

Under the plan Dakars Oval, described in it as a flood plain, would become an open park area for residents and visitors.

“I’ll resign as the chair of the sports council if the sports council continues to support the Napier Oval expansion at the expense of all the other grounds, it’s simply not our main priority,” he said.

“If we go for some fairy-tale story about the development of Napier Oval there’ll be no female change rooms at King George, no toilet block at Dakars or any cricket nets anywhere all while they wait for some pie-in-the-sky sporting precinct that will be straddled by a main road and adjacent to a sewerage treatment works,”

Blayney shire mayor Scott Ferguson said that council had asked residents for their long-term view of what was needed in the development of the plan.

“We already know what the short-term requirements are such as toilets and upgrades etc, but we asked the sporting groups and community about how they saw the sporting facilities in 20 years, and what came out of that was a complete revamp of Napier Oval,” he said.

“That plan though is yet to be adopted and I’m very open-minded about what we, or future councils will deliver to it.”

Cr Ferguson said that council needed to develop long-term plans so that if funding projects came available, they were primed and ready.

“Let’s say that Soccer Australia in a few years time say they have money available for new grounds, well we can say here you go, here’s our plan,” he said.

“We also need to work together regionally to develop differing facilities and not compete with each other.”