Trying to shed some light on the fields at New Brighton are (from left) vice-president of the Ocean Shores Junior Soccer Club Amanda Chamberlain, committee member Ted Kabbout, president Mark Patten and club registrar Julia Drennan.
Trying to shed some light on the fields at New Brighton are (from left) vice-president of the Ocean Shores Junior Soccer Club Amanda Chamberlain, committee member Ted Kabbout, president Mark Patten and club registrar Julia Drennan.

New Brighton soccer fields still in the dark

Twelve months ago it was marked as a priority by Byron Shire Council, but Mark Patten is still waiting for four lights to be erected at the Tom Kendall Oval at New Brighton.

“We’re not constructing the Empire State building here,” Mark, who is the president of the Ocean Shores Junior Soccer Club, told a meeting of the Byron Shire Council last week.

“We just want the four lights that were promised would be a priority a year ago.”

Mark said New Brighton was the forgotten corner of the shire.

“Bangalow has four soccer fields with lights; Byron Bay has three and Mullumbimby has two fields with lights, yet we have hundreds of kids using our fields and we can’t even get a few lights,” he said.

“In October 2008 the council voted as a matter of urgency to install the lights, now it’s 12 months down the track and we still don’t have them.”

Mr Patten said the lights would make a world of difference to the kids.

He said that in winter, training had to stop just after 5pm because the grounds were in darkness, and some of the teams had to train at Brunswick Heads.

Club committee member Ted Kabbout said the council had the funds for the lights.

“When the kids and the parents use the fields at night, we have to get all the cars to turn their lights on so that they can train,” he said.

“The council staff has prepared several different reports on the issue, but they have done all the reports separately, not together.

“It’s a ridiculous situation and this council is either incompetent or it’s doing this intentionally.”

Byron Council has commissioned a lighting design for the oval from an external contractor to provide an indication of light levels, the mapping of light spills and design specifications to the required Australian Standards.

A council ecologist has also undertaken an environmental impact assessment, and a social impact study was also done to investigate potential negative impacts on the immediate residential.

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham said it was hoped the lights would be installed next month.
She said it was disappointing that the matter had taken so long.

“But we had complaints from residents about the installation of the lights and council then had to prepare a number of studies,” Cr Barham said.

It is estimated the lights will cost $85,000.

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