WITHOUT what Greater Taree City Council's parks supervisor Wayne Hull describes as a 'significant investment' sporting fields at the Trad Complex at Old Bar will continue to be subject to the vagaries of the weather.
A badly cracked playing surface at the complex has left Old Bar's cricketers without a turf wicket to play on for the rest of the season.
All the club's games scheduled for the ground have been moved. This is the second time in as many years the club has been forced to move away from their headquarters with the cracks, some as much as 35cm deep and growing, presenting a danger to players.
The protracted dry weather is to blame for the problem.
Old Bar Barbarians Football Club has started looking at ways to get the surface back into shape for the 2014 season expected to start after Easter. The club's junior and senior teams train and play at the complex.
The Barbarians shifted to the Trad Fields last year. However, the club's premier league teams spent the first round on the road while work was completed at the ground.
Club president Warren Steedman said club members will be rostered on to water the field while other work will be completed after consultation with council and other authorities.
At the moment the most badly cracked area is on the fields used by the club's under sixes, sevens and eights.
"These fields can be relocated to another part of the complex,'' he said.
However, if the dry continues the club fears the cracking will spread making other parts of complex unplayable.
Watering of the fields has to be monitored because if there is heavy rain the fields turn into what he described as 'a swamp.'
"It's a Catch 22,'' Mr Steedman added.
Mr Steedman said the Barbarians hope to be able to use a nearby dam for the watering.
Longer term the club will look to install tanks at the field to assist with watering.
The Barbarians will carry the cost of any work carried out.
Mr Hull said the fine grain soil with a high clay content at the complex makes it prone to cracking while it also swells when wet.
"Old Bar Park used to be the first field we have that was close during wet weather. Now it's the second behind the Trad Field,'' he said.
Mr Hull said council doesn't have the financial resources to provide a permanent remedy to the problem.
He added that no costings have been done on such a project.
"But it would be a significant investment,'' he added.
"This is the worst the cracking has been.''
"Basically we need some rain during the summer and a relatively dry winter.''
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