Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Council denies access to new facilities

Despite being scheduled to play at home this Saturday, Finley footballers and netballers will instead make the trip to Blighty.

SOPHIE BURGE July 23, 2014 3:20am

The new-look Finley Recreation Reserve.

Finley Football Netball Club has been forced to find a last minute venue for its ‘home’ game against Tongala this weekend.

It was hoped upgrades to the Finley Recreation Reserve would be completed by this weekend, which is round 14 of the Murray Football League season.

It would have allowed Finley to play on home soil for the first time this year.

Berrigan Shire Council has denied access to the grounds because not all services have been connected to the new look clubrooms.

Official fixtures on the Fox Sports Pulse website indicated the Cats were meant to play at home this weekend, and for rounds 15, 16 and 17.

Future games could also be in question, with council unable to provide a connection date.

With only 18 rounds before finals, it’s possible the Cats will not be able to play a ‘home’ game at all this season.

FFNC president Ashley Haynes said having to move this weekend’s game was disappointing, but thanked the Blighty Football Netball Club for its hospitality.

‘‘We are grateful that Blighty have helped us out again,’’ Mr Haynes said.

‘‘The new building at Finley is looking fantastic and we can’t wait to get in there.’’

Berrigan Shire Council director corporate services Matt Hansen said there was never any guarantee given to the football netball club that the rooms would be available for round 14, or at all this season.

‘‘The Committee of Management and FFNC were advised well before the project started, and on several occasions since, that there were no guarantees that the building would be available this football season and that FFNC should make plans on this basis,’’ he said.

‘‘If this advice had been taken, then this unfortunate situation could have been avoided.’’

Mr Hansen confirmed council will not permit occupancy of the new building ‘‘until the gas service is connected and the building complete’’.

‘‘The building will not be complete this weekend as the major item of work outstanding is the connection of the gas and a gas meter,’’ Mr Hansen said.

‘‘Despite the best efforts of staff, there is still no firm date for this connection.

‘‘It is the strong view of council staff that the building should not be used until it is complete. This has also been the position of the council throughout this project.

‘‘If the council permits early occupancy of the building, it would place itself at some risk and create an unwelcome precedent.

‘‘Apart from the gas connection, the building is essentially completed with all the furniture installed as well as landscaping works which are currently going ahead.

‘‘The facility looks fantastic and we look forward to it’s completion.’’

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