Wyndham City Council: Saltwater Reserve
Saltwater Reserve provides Point Cook with a sporting facility that has been lacking in the area for many years. Saltwater Reserve will provide a facility catering for multi discipline sporting uses such as AFL football, cricket, soccer and tennis as well as passive area for dogs off lead.
The reserve’s unique feature is the inclusion of a full size AFL endorsed synthetic turf oval. This submission will focus on this component of the reserve as an individual project within the larger scope of the whole reserve.
The planning, design and construction of the synthetic oval has been unique with many technical challenges and evolving product technical developments during construction. This oval will be able to provide three times the level of use compared to a conventional turf oval.
This district level facility will provide a range of formal recreational spaces and when completed will feature:
- Three AFL football and cricket ovals, including one full size synthetic oval;
- Eight tennis courts, with the provision for future expansion to twelve courts;
- Three soccer fields;
- Passive recreational facilities such as shared trails including work out stations, neighbourhood park, shelters and BBQ amenities and a dog park;
- Precinct Sports Pavilions and car parking;
- Community Sports Pavilion
The total project construction is $26.3m.
Wyndham is Victoria’s fastest growing and Australia’s fourth fastest municipality. The growth is approximately 7% pa (10,000 – 11,000 people) and is forecast to continue for the next twenty-five years. Point Cook is the fastest growing of Wyndham’s three growth frontiers. The population is currently approximately 28,000 and is forecast to reach full development of 54,000 in 2035.
Point Cook will soon to be home to Wyndham’s largest sporting precinct Saltwater Reserve. This major development will initially see football, soccer, cricket, and tennis played on the Reserve in addition to passive open space of which includes a neighbourhood park, rock climbing walls, Dog Park, two basketball half courts and proposed skate park.
The area comprises an expansive 22 hectares of land which will accommodate the multiple sporting fields, courts, and open recreation and passive space. This project presents some unique components, one of which being the first full size synthetic turf AFL football oval in Australia. Additional initiatives include WSUD, stormwater harvesting, use of recycled water and ESD lighting initiatives.
Saltwater Reserve is one of Wyndham’s biggest ever sporting projects and works are in full swing with construction on the synthetic AFL and Cricket oval completed, civil infrastructure works well underway and the construction of three sporting pavilions is also well advanced.
The development will proceed in stages. It is anticipated that the civil works (including remaining natural turf football ovals and soccer fields) will be completed early 2012. The construction of the three Sports Pavilions commenced in late 2011 with completion by late 2012. Landscape construction works will also proceed in stages, commencing in April 2012 and will be completed in April 2013.
The total forecast cost of the development is in excess of $26M.
Project Cost: $2.1M +GST (Design and construct contract)
Contractor: Team Sports
Project partners/sponsors: Sport & Recreation Victoria, AFL, Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria
Start date: 20 December 2010
PC date: 22 August 2011
Official Opening: 14 December 2011
The introduction of a synthetic oval came about from the need to meet community needs for a drought proof oval and excessive use of ovals throughout the municipality. The AFL was already conducting research into different surfaces for the purpose of Australian Rules football. After discussions with the AFL, it was identified that Saltwater Reserve would be a prime location for the first drought proof synthetic turf oval. This provided the environment for a partnership between Wyndham City Council, AFL, Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria and the State Government who all made financial contributions to the project and a continued commitment to the project.
Wyndham City Council then embarked on a journey in the Design & Construction of Australia’s first full senior size synthetic football/ cricket oval with a synthetic cricket wicket, to AFL / Cricket Australia performance criteria and standards.
- Synthetic Oval Forms part of a 22ha regional sports precinct including precinct Sports Pavilions (3 No.), multiple sporting fields (AFL/Cricket & Soccer), courts (Tennis & Basketball), open recreation and passive space including.
- The size of the oval to boundary lines: 165 m x 135 m, approx 18,300m² of synthetic turf area constructed. Meeting the required standard for a full size AFL football oval.
- Components used: Class 3 recycled concrete base layer, 20mm “Atlantis” flow cell, 25mm “Schmitz” shock pad, and a 36 mm “EnviroTurf II” (AFL/ Cricket Aust approved) synthetic grass pile with a round sand infill imported from the Middle East.
- Undertaking of all required testing to obtain AFL / Cricket Australia certification / accreditation.
- Contract works also included: underground perimeter stormwater drainage, a 1.1 m high chain mesh perimeter fence with access gates, a 2.5 m wide reinforced concrete perimeter footpath, the supply and installation of two coaches boxes, and the supply & installation of senior AFL goal posts.
- The advantages of synthetic grass over a natural grass:
- resilience to weather-drought tolerant & free draining,
- consistency of the playing characteristics – no soft or hard spots; and
- availability for intensive use – 3 times more than natural turf (Typically natural turf – 20hrs/wk, Synthetic Oval – 60 to 80hrs/wk).
- Additional capital costs over traditional irrigated turf oval – approx. $350,000. A cost analysis study was carried out on the maintenance between a conventional turf surface versus a synthetic turf surface over a period of 10 years. Taking in all variables into account, the dollar savings in watering and mowing/turf maintenance exceeds $300,000 over 10 years.
- Synthetic turf performance modelled on the MCG natural turf oval – roll, bounce, playability.
- Synthetic turf life expectancy 8-10 years.
- The end users of the oval: local sporting clubs, local residents and greater community, local and regional schools, regional and state sporting associations and leagues. Anticipated that a collective total of 7,500 visitations per week to the reserve – 1,000 visits pertaining to the Synthetic Oval alone.
An Engineering Solution
The design and construction of the synthetic oval presented new and innovative challenges which had not been experienced before, as the project was the first of its kind in terms of AFL football oval construction. There were set conditions imposed by the AFL in order to achieve certification for AFL level of play to be allowed on the oval. In particular to be able to achieve a surface that was acceptable in terms of its abrasiveness and spring. To achieve this, the following elements of construction were adopted:
- 40mm ‘Enviroturf’ ( AFL & Cricket Australia approved)
- Sand infill
- 20mm ‘Schimtz’ shock pad
- 20mm ‘Atlantis’ flo-cell for drainage
- 150mm class 3 recycled concrete layer
- 150mm class 4 capping layer
- A24 geofabric layer
- Drainage pits for the ‘Atlantis’ flo-cells
Although this is not the first ‘synthetic’ turf sporting facility eg soccer, hockey, the uniqueness associated with this oval was meeting the needs and requirements of AFL, in ensuring the safety of football players. Extensive research and testing was carried out on the following elements.
- Grass lengths
- Shock pads
- Suitable sand medium infill
The need to have flexibility in the change of sporting codes from football to cricket has been made easier by installing a synthetic wicket table that can be lifted in and out. This presented some construction challenges in meeting the different levels in the wicket table and oval.