Monash University CC News
Demand for land release
By Holly McKay
Glen Eira has just 45 sports grounds to service the more than 60 registered clubs.
Two local sporting clubs forced to play outside of Glen Eira say opening up the land could mean the difference between the clubs thriving or failing.
Monash University Cricket Club, based at both Clayton and Caulfield campuses, has grown from four teams to seven in the last seven seasons, but has been forced to move most of their operations to Clayton due to the lack of space at Caulfield.
Secretary Stephen Pearson said they had also had to hire grounds in Bayside and the city of Melbourne because their one ground allocation at East Caulfield Reserve simply wasn’t enough.
Mr Pearson said this year they were also restarting their women’s team and couldn’t host games in Caulfield due to the lack of grounds.
“Because of the limited access we get at East Caulfield Reserve we’ve moved most of our operations to Clayton,” Mr Pearson said.
“Ideally we’re after a turf wicket in Glen Eira and access to one or two grounds to allow us to grow.”
He said opening up Caulfield Racecourse Reserve would allow multiple clubs to continue to play within the municipality.
“It’s a waste of space; we’ve got this massive area that could easily accommodate two or three cricket grounds or soccer fields – it’s just empty space being wasted,” Mr Pearson said.
Elsternwick Amateurs Football Club life member Richard Patey said the club currently played in neighbouring Bayside at a ground with no facilities or rain cover.
Mr Patey said the club, now with about 45 members, could expand if they had access to a ground within Glen Eira.
“It’s a struggle. We would like to expand,” Mr Patey said. “If something like the Caulfield Racecourse was to come up, if Glen Eira could bring us back in – I’m sure that would be welcomed,” Mr Patey said.
The reserve, a 54ha parcel of crown land – the equivalent of more than 20 MCGs – is currently under review by a bipartisan working group, established to conduct an independent review of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and “restore appropriate governance”.
The group includes Caulfield state Liberal MP David Southwick, Oakleigh state Labor MP Steve Dimopoulos and independent chairman Ken Ryan and will report to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Mr Southwick said sport clubs deserved to play locally, and the racecourse reserve would make a “fantastic home ground”.
He said the review was set to be handed to the minister by the end of June.
Glen Eira currently has the least amount of open space per head of population in metropolitan Melbourne.
Glen Eira Council community relations director Paul Burke said there were 64 clubs with a seasonal allocation registered with the council, but just 45 sporting grounds.
He said the council had been advocating for “many years” for the crown land at the racecourse to be turned into sports grounds.