New home for Rockhampton Hockey decided
HOCKEY: It resembles an empty paddock now, but by 2018 it could host international hockey matches.
A unanimous decision made by over 100 Rockhampton Hockey Association (RHA) members on Tuesday night, accepting the Rockhampton Regional Council's decision to move away from Kalka Shades to a new venue on Olive St Parkhurst.
The brand new facility will include two synthetic fields, two grass fields, a grandstand and amenities to go into a city that has produced four Olympians.
Despite the sense of sadness to move away from their home of over five decades, RHA president Barbara Knowles said "the positives far out way the negatives".
"It is very exciting for the RHA. The council have very generously offered us a portion of land here at Parkhurst for the facilities. This will enable us to tender for state and national championships and international events," Barbara said.
"It is just perfect timing to put the two new fields together, with the possibility to have other sports out here in such a growing corridor.
"The opportunity to now really grow hockey, develop it further. It will be amazing and a major re-invigoration for the sport in Rockhampton."
Barbara said the immense cost of maintenance of being in a flood plane, forced their hand.
"It is sad, it really is. Kalka is a beautiful setting, just lovely there but it was suited to grass hockey," she admitted.
"The flooding issues are too problematic. We have funding for a second synthetic turf field but the council didn't want it to go down at Kalka.
"We are fairly confident that we will make a start early next year. The plan is that we would like to have two synthetic turf fields by the end of 2017 to play on by the start of the 2018 season.
"We are hoping that Hockey Australia will then reward us by us picking up an international match just prior to the Commonwealth Games."
Barbara couldn't reveal the exact cost but estimated it would be a $4-5million venue. She said there was no reason why the expense would cost current members and players.
"To be honest, I don't think so. We have raised $2.5m ourselves and we are still contributing our $400,000. There is no reason at this stage for there to be any increase in costing for members," she said.
"It is all just very exciting."