By SAMUEL GRECO SCHWARTZ
Local community club, Balmain & District Football Club, is eager to have priority access to the pitches to be built at the old Rozelle Railyards site.
Balmain & District Football Club is the largest club in the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association (CDSFA) with over 2,800 players registered ahead of the 2021 season which kicks off at the beginning of April.
The rate of expansion at the inner west club means that they are in desperate need of new facilities.
Currently, BDFC play out of five home grounds: Callan Park, Birchgrove Oval, Easton Park, Glover Street Fields and Cohen Park. However, these fields are not enough to cater for a club which has a female participation rate of 34 percent, 11 percent above the state average.
It is this, and many other reasons, why BDFC President, Paul Avery, believes that the club should have priority access to the proposed fields.
“The big thing is being able to find space for women to play for us,” Mr. Avery explained.
“What the new field will do is provide us with a place for teams which do not have anywhere local to play right now.”
The number of people choosing football and BDFC is the main reason for Avery’s determination to have football prioritised.
“Within the Inner West Council LGA, 85% of our members are actually based locally and they want to play on the local fields and that is absolutely fair and reasonable,” he said.
The support provided by local politicians has also been beneficial to the club’s cause with the likes of Anthony Albanese, Jamie Parker, Darcy Byrne and local councillors Rochelle Porteous and John Stamolis supporting the club’s infrastructure plans.
“We’re blessed by the fact that we have local representatives who actually care about the community,” the BDFC president said.
“They [local politicians] understand what community sport brings to the local community.”
The addition of the Rozelle Parklands Precinct will build upon the BDFC’s developments at Waterfront Drive which has seen the club included in the $14 million upgrade directed at Callan Park.
Building 497 at the back of the Waterfront Drive ground will be repurposed as the clubhouse and the section of the Bay Run that is currently shared between people, cyclists and vehicles will now be turned into a green area solely for pedestrians and cyclists.
The new clubhouse at Waterfront Drive forms part of a bigger plan for BDFC which is focused on building a sense of belonging for their members as well as the surrounding community.
“Building 497 will provide a focus for our club and much needed facilities for our members and the wider community,” he said.
Samuel Greco Schwartz is a Communications Officer at the Canterbury District Football Association.