Broken Hill Junior Soccer Association Vice President, Scott Deering, requested an update on Broken Hill City Council’s (BHCC) commitment to upgrading the kitchen facilities at O’Neil Memorial Park in preparation for the South Australian Soccer Championships to be held at the soccer grounds in September.
Mr Deering spoke on behalf of the Broken Hill Soccer Association, the Junior Association, and local soccer community members at last week’s Council Meeting, expressing his concerns around the current state of the council owned kitchen facility at the site.
“We had a meeting with the council’s own environmental health officer at the canteen facility in January and we went through the food safety requirements for the canteen and was then advised that the canteen was non-compliant and unable to be utilised until minimum standards were achieved,” said Mr Deering.
“The council did not have a lot of available staff at the time to assist council with the process of replacing equipment, so members from the Soccer Association Board sourced quotes, had plans drawn up, and revised drafts to those plans to ensure the food safety compliances,” he said. “All documents, quotes, plans, and required information were sent to council to help streamline the process.”
Mr Deering suggested that the BHCC has not provided regular updates to the board, leaving them unable to update members on the progress.
“There has been a lack of communication to the board members. The clubs have been unable to use the canteen and with that, they’ve had a reduction in sales for the biggest fundraising for the soccer clubs,” he said.
“Council has been aware for a long time that the South Australian Soccer Championships will be held in Broken Hill in September. The soccer competition brings in excess of 56 teams, officials, referees, and support staff totalling around 2000 people across the weekend, which is great for the town and for trying to showcase our juniors [soccer players] and the town itself.
“A non-functioning kitchen impacts raising funds to cover costs associated with the championships. But it’s also about the image of Broken Hill, and more specifically the Council of Broken Hill City Council,” said Mr Deering.
“Are there any planned steps to provide a fully functioning kitchen for the soccer community?”
Mayor Tom Kennedy and General Manager Jay Nankivell both acknowledged the concerns and reassured Mr Deering quotes are being gathered for repairs to be completed before the championships in September.
“Soccer is very important to the Broken Hill community. The soccer [association] has a lease agreement with the Broken Hill City Council, and under the lease agreement, soccer [association] is virtually in control of what happens down at that facility,” said the mayor.
“The council, of course, is more than happy to help wherever possible. Like all canteens and all food preparing areas around the city, they have to meet the requirements of council’s health and building code, so that must be taken into account.
“The President is aware that council is waiting for a number of quotes to actually carry out that work. As for councillors agreeing to fund that, that’s already done. That’s part of the normal works and normal maintenance repairs that the council would do.”
“This is one of those things where council offices are trying to facilitate it as quickly as possible to make sure that the canteen is up and running as soon as it can. Anyone in town would know how hard it is to get the qualified people to actually carry out work at this stage or even get people to give quotes,” he said.
General Manager Nankivell added, “we’re fully aware that the upgrade has to occur for September and that’s one of the priorities that we’re working towards. Council’s asset offices have been keeping contact with the President of the Soccer Association to ensure that he’s kept up to date with the progress.”