Hayley Schnitzerling and Dylan Ready can’t wait for the return of synthetic surface to Warwick.
Hayley Schnitzerling and Dylan Ready can’t wait for the return of synthetic surface to Warwick. Gerard Walsh

Hockey to bounce back

SYNTHETIC hockey will be played in Warwick next season after an announcement by Sports Minister Phil Reeves yesterday of a grant of $481,670 to rebuild the surface at Queens Park.

The December and January floods rolled the surface up like a sausage and put all 2011 hockey on to grass fields.

Mr Reeves said the damage to the synthetic surface in Warwick was the most in money terms for any sports facility due to the floods.

"Synthetic grass is so hard to replace. Volunteers can't all of a sudden design a new synthetic surface," Mr Reeves said.

"Sporting groups like the hockey club are the community hub of local towns."

Warwick Hockey Association president Peter Pickering said he was always surprised when announcements like yesterday's happened.

"We have a lot of things to work through on a long journey (back) but will have it ready for next season," Mr Pickering said.

"The companies which gave us quotes have stated the base is good and only needs some minor repairs."

Warwick hockey players and some juniors dressed in representative colours were invited to a barbecue at Queens Park at 4.30pm yesterday.

The Minister invited all volunteers who had helped re-build hockey facilities to come forward before saying he wasn't giving them certificates but a gift, which the juniors unwrapped - a cheque to cover 100% of the rebuilding cost.

Mr Reeves said it was important in his role as Sports Minister and also Child Safety Minister to have hockey on a synthetic surface up and running as soon as possible for the young and not so young.

Mr Reeves said the grant was the only one he had approval for with a 100 per cent contribution from the government.

"Most are for 60 or 75 per cent of the cost," he said.

He paid tribute to Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg, who raised the damage to the hockey field with him.

"Lawrence lobbied me for this funding, as did the Governor, who showed me the flood photos from Warwick hockey after one executive council meeting," Mr Reeves said.

Mr Reeves didn't sign off on the hockey grant until assured in a meeting with Mayor Ron Bellingham yesterday that Southern Downs Regional Council was committed to raising the flood levee.

Cr Bellingham said the council had allocated $104,000 for the levee.

"We have to make sure there is no inherent swirl from a flood (on the surface)," Cr Bellingham said.

"The exact height of the levee will be determined by our design engineers and flood study contractors SKM."

In paying tribute to Mr Reeves, Mr Springborg said he had been genuinely interested and helpful all the way through. "I believe in giving credit where it is due," Mr Springborg said.

Warwick hockey can now confirm it will be able to host the state under-13 boys state championships in the town in the 2012 June/July holidays.

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