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Representatives from Kogarah Council and St.George DRLFC's Robert Stone gave local residents an exemplary presentation on the continued upgrade of Oki Jubilee Stadium.
Kogarah Mayor Michael Platt commenced the evening with a general overview of the upgrade and highlighted his Council's commitment to keeping residents informed.
Project Manager Frank Bates then provided residents with specific details about the flood lighting, additional seating, the northern turnstile, surface improvements to the training field and the gymnasium.
Bates assured residents that the updated lighting would be environmentally sensitive in order to balance the needs of the community and stadium users. He stressed that the most advanced lighting will be installed at Jubilee; eliminating light spill away from neighbouring properties and keeping the light on the field.
Gary Sawyer (Council's General Manager) and Stephen Clements (Council's Director for Development & Health) also attended the information session and answered questions relating to the Development Application process and general concerns about the development and what may have occurred in the past. Robert Stone assisted with this process and tactfully answered an array of questions on the future of Oki Jubilee Stadium.
While 1,500 residents were invited to the meeting, there was an approximate attendance of thirty-five including R2K representatives Melina Lathouras, Fay Samuel, Jeanette McLean John Ormsby, Justin Mining, Greg Perridge and Lachlan McLean.
Although the community forum wasn't necessarily staged at themost convenient time, the low attendance suggests that the upgrade is not as polemical as some people might suggest.
Despite this, a handful of residents raised certain issues and grievances about Oki Jubilee Stadium. A trio of residents was concerned that the boundary fence in English Street had been extended by three metres during the previous upgrade and was therefore reducing the area known as Kogarah Park. However, Kogarah Council believed that the surrounding parkland hadn't been reduced.
One of these residents suggested that school children were not allowed to use the venue, which was refuted by Stone and the groundsman who highlighted that six school carnivals had been staged at the ground over the previous year. Residents were assured that the conditions of use relating to the area outside the ground fronting the Princes Highway would not change and that public access would not be restricted.
The subject of parking was raised and it was suggested that the Dragons would buy extra parking allotments from Carlton South Public School. However, as Stage one won't necessarily increase the capacity of the venue, there will be no additional impact on the capacity of off-street parking. The Dragons will continue to encourage supporters to use the major parking stations at Kogarah Station and at Kogarah's Derby Street.
Only one resident expressed concerns regarding the floodlights. His main concern was the proposed height of the towers. The resident was informed that the colour of the light towers would be customised to blend into the skyline.
Overall Kogarah Council and St.George DRLFC staged a very professional community forum and should be congratulated for keeping the community informed outside of the traditional Development Application process. Councillors Adam Mazzaferro and Nick Katris also attended the information session along with Danny Robinson from the St.George Leagues Club.
While some residents may be opposed to any event taking place at Oki Jubilee Stadium, the refurbishment has widespread support in the Kogarah Municipality, the greater St.George region and wherever St.George-Illawarra supporters reside.