Soccer club gets go-ahead

Mums and dads were ready to use the headlights of their cars to enable soccer games to be played tomorrow night at the Tom Kendall Reserve at New Brighton, the only sports field in the north of the shire.

But thanks to a vote by Byron Shire councillors last Thursday, they won’t have to.

Instead, newly installed lights will be switched on and the first games under lights will be played on the ground.

At issue was a review of environmental factors which recommended the lights be used only from mid-May to mid-September and then only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights because of the impact they may have on loggerhead turtles.

Ted Kabbout, a Shores United Football Club committee member, said the report was flawed with the lights meeting every Australian standard.

Mr Kabbout said the planned restrictions were probably the first of their kind in Australia and had not been imposed on any other facility in the Byron Shire.

He said the recommended nights for the lights to be used were the worst nights for training and reflected the lack of consultation and understanding of community needs.

At a public access session at last Thursday’s council meeting, club president, Mark Patten, said regional football authorities had slotted in games for New Brigthon for tomorrow night ‘and the games will be played’.

Mr Patten said he would get a s**tload of cars to the ground and get them to switch their lights on for the games to be played if the new lights couldn’t be used.

Successfully moving that the three nights the lights could be switched on be changed to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Cr Ross Tucker said the council had supported the erection of the lights in 2008, but it had turned into a ‘bit of a dog’s breakfast’.

Cr Tucker said he was OK with the lights being used seven nights a week.

Cr Diane Wood, who has a soccer playing grand-daughter, said she would have gone to the ground tomorrow night and switched on her car’s headlights.

After the meeting, Mr Kabbout said the decision was a ‘good starting point’.

“It will get us up and running for this season and hopefully we will have further improvements,” he said.

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