By Rebecca Peppiatt
Bullsbrook Football Club committee members say the safety of their players is in jeopardy as their grounds are waterlogged and virtually unusable.
Pickett Park in Bullsbrook, like the rest of the region, has received its fair share of rain recently, but the ground’s users say a lack of decent drainage has resulted in the oval becoming a muddy quagmire.
Hills Football Association president Brian Pallister said the grounds were now a danger to players and he was sick of receiving complaints from outside clubs forced to play there.
“It’s disgraceful,” he said.
“Watching the guys slip and slide – there’s no firm footing, I’m surprised we haven’t had a serious knee or ankle injury.
“Other teams don’t like playing here, I get all the complaints under the sun.”
Mr Pallister said recent work done by the City of Swan to put infill around the boundary of the oval has “made no impact whatsoever” to the condition of the grounds.
“All the work they’ve done is outside the boundary of the oval,” he said.
“I knew it wouldn’t fix the problem.
“The band aid effect doesn’t work.”
Mr Pallister said the club would like to create a junior team but the state of the grounds meant it was impossible for it to sustain more use.
“If it doesn’t get sorted out, we couldn’t do what we’d like to see happen in the long run, which is a whole junior structure leading up to the seniors because the oval usage wouldn’t allow it,” he said.
“Kids down here don’t want to play on that so a lot of them go to Muchea and Upper Swan.
“We lose a lot.”
Mr Pallister did concede that a lack of volunteers also contributed to the struggle to maintain a juniors side but Bullsbrook Football club aren’t the only users of the grounds complaining about its condition.
Pickett Park is also used by the local cricket club in summer and the Bullsbrook Croquet Club all year round, which is also currently unable to play due to the boggy soil.
Swan chief executive Jeremy Edwards said player safety was a major concern and the city would continue to monitor the surface of the grounds at Pickett Park over the coming months.
“The City is aware of the drainage issues at Pickett Park and completed some remedial works in June,” he said.
“There are existing subsoil drains throughout sections of the oval which assists with the surface drainage, however given the challenging ground conditions, there may still be some water retention in winter months.
“The City allocated $100,000 funding in 2020/21 to install subsoil drainage to the eastern side of the oval (adjacent to the pavilion and bowling green) to assist with surface pooling.
“These works were completed in June 2021.
“There are no immediate plans to undertake additional works at Pickett Park and we will monitor the surface once rainfall patterns have improved.”
Mr Pallister said he hoped the city would factor in drainage works in next years’ budget and install a new drainage system underneath the grounds to cope with the heavy clay under the surface.
“I’d like to see them do something constructive and listen to some proper local input,” he said.
“If they install the proper stuff then they won’t have a problem.”
Mr Pallister also said he felt over-watering of the grounds during the summer months contributed to the ongoing problem.