Big stink on Raymond Terrace athletics field

SEWAGE PROBLEM: The newly constructed toilet block adjacent to the Vi Barnett athletics field and the long jump pit.
SEWAGE PROBLEM: The newly constructed toilet block adjacent to the Vi Barnett athletics field and the long jump pit.

The Raymond Terrace community may have been spared of any major flooding from the recent big wet event, but a sewage overflow on the Vi Barnett sporting field is causing a big stink among athletes and councillors.

At a recent meeting of the Raymond Terrace sports council attended by all three west ward Port Stephens councillors, it was reported that the drainage issue at Vi Barnett complex was impacting on the athletic fields, predominantly in the vicinity of the long jump sand pit.

Cr Giacomo Arnott, with support from fellow ward councillors Paul Le Mottee and Ken Jordan, relayed the concerns of the athletics club, and the need for an urgent fix, through a notice of motion at the March 23 council meeting.

"It was reported to us at the sports council meeting that there was a major piping issue causing sewage to overflow on the sporting fields where kids practice and the public walk," Cr Arnott said.

"This needs to be addressed as urgently as possible which is why I have asked for a report back at the next meeting of council. Waiting three or four months would just not be good enough."

Cr Arnott said it was an absolute disgrace that the local sporting community had to deal with such conditions.

"This should have been fixed on the same day that it was first reported, not months down the line. I will continue to work with our local sporting clubs to make sure their grounds are safe and fit for purpose."

The council's facilities and service manager Greg Kable told councillors that it was still too early to determine if it was raw sewage or not.

"We don't know what we are dealing with so we have sent the material away to be tested and once we know we can remedy the situation."

He said a likely source was an issue with the pipe connections from the septic tanks as part of the newly constructed nearby toilet facility.

Cr Le Mottee said that information he had gathered suggested there was a problem with the fittings of the newly laid pipes, "causing a back up of raw sewage".

"This is a matter of significance and urgency and the sooner we get to the bottom of this the better it will be for all concerned."

A council spokesperson said that the athletics club members had been advised to not use the long jump pit until further notice.

"The Athletics Club regular season is now finished and our building trades have organised the materials and will cordon off the long jump pit to the general public."

In a second notice of motion presented by Cr Arnott at the March 23 council meeting, it was resolved that the council note the impact of the east coast low weather event in the Port Stephens LGA, and thank council staff who had been providing a 24/7 response to incidents and resident concerns, as well as working to ensure safety for locals where needed.

The motion also encouraged locals and businesses affected by the weather event to make use of the supports being offered as a result of the disaster declaration for the Port Stephens LGA.

It was agreed that council write a letter of thanks to all of the emergency services operating in the LGA and working hard to respond to incidents, particularly the State Emergency Service.

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