Albert butler oval redevelopment project successful completion stage one - clearing and preparation
The Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Wollongong Wolves Football Club and the Illawarra Stingrays Women’s Football Club are delighted to announce, Stage 1 – Clearing and Preparation of the Albert Butler Oval Redevelopment Project has successfully been completed.
Thanks to funds made available through the Community Building Partnership Grants Program, secured through Local Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully and Local Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, Stage 1 was able to be fast tracked with work completed months ahead of schedule.
“We are now well on the way to our goal of developing a community sporting hub for the entire Illawarra and South Coast. Completing Stage 1 is a huge step forward and thanks to the representations made by Paul Scully and Anna Watson on our behalf, we have now cleared and prepared another two sporting fields to be utilised at this facility,” Wollongong Wolves CEO Chris Papakosmas said.
The area improved was previously overgrown with lantana, weeds and other noxious plants and was filled with waste and assorted rubbish accumulated over years and years, making it completely non usable and a hazard in many respects. Today is it ready to be used for a variety of sporting initiatives, across all sectors of the community and a testament to what can be achieved through cooperation and planning.
Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO, Paul Knight has been a strong supporter of the development plans for Albert Butler Oval from its inception. “This is exactly one of the reasons why we entered into our partnership with the Wollongong Wolves. Together we have mapped out a series of stages to make Albert Butler a facility the community can be involved with and a part of. Finishing off Stage 1 is very exciting as we can now look at rolling out Stage 2 well ahead of schedule.”
Stage 1 involved the total clearing of the original site, followed by preparation to make it suitable for use as sporting fields. Once fully cleared, the site was completely leveled and graded. Grass was then seeded to take and be ready for use by late 2018, early 2019. As a result of grants made available through the Community Building Partnership Program and the strong support of local organisations, MCR, Bitz Excavations, M,J Rowles and many volunteers and locals, the new grounds are now ready for preliminary use.
Illawarra Stingrays President Brendan Macalpine said: “The Wolves, Land Council and Stingrays have proven just what can be achieved with everyone working together for the betterment of all across our community. Having these additional fields available for sporting groups and schools across our region gives us more opportunities to get even more people involved in sport and participate in programs and initiatives to improve health and fitness.”
Albert Butler Oval now has 3 sporting fields with plans to increase this further across the subsequent stages of the redevelopment. The main ground will continue to host Wolves training sessions and stay as the home venue for all Wolves junior matches and SAP games with the outer grounds to be utilised much more in the future, once final upgrades are completed.
“The new grass still needs a little TLC but it’s now spreading strongly and will be a great surface to play on. There is still the final ground measurements and marking to come but we are all very pleased with the outcome and now ready to start rolling out Stage 2,” Papakosmas added.
Stage 2 of the redevelopment project will involve upgraded lighting for the main ground and additional lighting for the two new grounds plus further clearing and preparation for extra grounds to be added to the existing 3 pitches available.
Paul Knight added: “The progress we have made has been remarkable. What once was area that was completely neglected is now a community asset. There are still plenty of improvements and good news to come out of Albert Butler and we have some very exciting plans for the future. Finishing Stage 1 so quickly means we can now push on even further. This is a project developed by the community, for the community and built by the community.”
As part of Stage 2, the Wollongong Wolves have qualified for inclusion in the Australian Sports Foundation’s Fundraising initiatives where all donations made are 100% tax deductable and money raised goes directly to the Albert Butler Oval Redevelopment Project. More information can be found at https://asf.org.au/projects/wollongong-wolves-fc/.
Inclusion under the Australian Sport Foundation umbrella is expected to raise significant additional funds to be used for the entire redevelopment project.
For further information and to organise interviews please contact Susan Gatt, Administration Manager, Wollongong Wolves Football Club on (02) 4272 2624