(North Sydney) (13:34): For almost a century, Gore Hill Oval in my electorate has been one of our region’s busiest playing fields. Across the years, it has seen its fair share of footy boots, spikes and bare feet. It has become a major home for cricket and AFL. It is, in fact, one of the busiest AFL training grounds in the country. Yet, like many of our local sporting facilities, it has struggled to keep up with demand. Many of its amenities are ageing, and the oval was prone to flooding. Its grass surface limited the hours it could be used. So I was pleased to have been able to work with Willoughby City Council to secure a $9.5 million grant from the government to revamp the oval. In November 2017, Willoughby Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney and I turned the sod on this major project, and in a few weeks time the oval will be re-opened.
The upgrade of the oval includes a greatly improved drainage system and resurfacing of the oval with synthetic grass, ensuring we can maximise its use. New floodlighting has been installed, the old pavilion has been replaced with modern change rooms and a new community room, and outdoor basketball and handball courts have also been constructed. The development has included a regional-scale playground and a new walking track for residents. Importantly, the oval has retained its distinctive picket fence. I congratulate all who have been involved with the project, which is a major boost for local sporting groups, and I encourage local residents to visit the facility at the re-opening day on 9 March, which should be a grand celebration of all that the council and federal government have achieved.