Gunnedah sporting groups may be relocated to Donnelly Playing Fields

Gunnedah Shire Council says plans remain in place to possibly relocate sporting groups from John Longmuir Playing Fields to Donnelly Playing Fields.

“The 2010 Open Space Strategy and 2014 Showground Masterplan recommend the possible relocation of sporting activities, such as cricket, touch football and rugby league from Longmuir Fields to Donnelly Fields, to allow for the expansion of equestrian facilities in the future,” acting director of infrastructure, Daniel Noble, said.

Longmuir is a popular sporting ground.

Longmuir is a popular sporting ground.

Gunnedah Junior Rugby League representatives said the possible relocation has not been consulted on.

“As far as where we stand as a committee at the moment, we don’t want to be moved,” rugby league committee president Nick Wild said.

“We have never wanted to move. We’ve been there since 1958 and it’s 60 years this year.”

“As far as I know, the [Longmuir] fields were donated to junior sports [and] there are a lot of sporting groups that rely on using those fields,” he said.

“Considering we’re family-oriented and being so close to the river, and not being fenced, I think it would detrimental to a lot of sport.

“All we want is a clear indication of what’s going and our chance to be able to rebutt against going down there.”

Group 4 juniors president Peter Lennox said Longmuir was a prime spot because of its central location.

“You’ve got a lovely sporting ground in the middle of town, it’s fenced. Why move down there at all? Why not consult with the clubs?” he said.

“They’ve just made their choices without any consultation with the clubs as far as I’m concerned.”

Milo In-2-Cricket and Milo T20 Blast kids use Donnelly Fields in November 2017. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

Milo In-2-Cricket and Milo T20 Blast kids use Donnelly Fields in November 2017. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

Mr Noble said the council knew some user groups had concerns, “many of which had been raised with the council previously as part of extensive consultation that was undertaken at that time”.

“We are keen to discuss the concerns raised by community user groups, and will reach out to them and encourage constructive dialogue,” he said.  

“At this stage, there is no firm timeline for compulsory transition for user groups from Longmuir Fields to Donnelly Fields, however, we will continue to actively invest in Donnelly Fields by enhancing this public space and building required infrastructure, so that should a move be required, Donnelly Fields will be ready to accommodate the needs of user groups within the community.”

“The transformation of Donnelly Fields undertaken as part of the Riverine Development Project has resulted in a high quality recreational space that regularly hosts local and regional sporting activities and events,  provides space for passive recreation and is a hub for community and social events,” Mr Noble said.

“This is a project that has delivered great benefits for the wider Gunnedah community, and we will continue to encourage user groups to make the move to Donnelly Fields  on their own volition and with Council’s continued support.”