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Just over R20 million has been set aside to install three more synthetic pitches in the new financial year to help counter the impact of the drought on sports fields and affected sporting codes.

The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department will kick off construction of three more synthetic soccer pitches in the coming months. The facilities will be installed in Ocean View, Seawinds, and NY116 in Gugulethu at an overall cost of just over R20 million.

To date, the City has already invested more than R100 million in 29 synthetic pitches across Cape Town. There are 19 full-sized pitches and 10 five-a-side facilities in the following areas:

Full-sized: Hout Bay, Lwandle, Site C Sports Complex, Manenberg, Blue Downs, Nomzamo, Imizamo Yethu, Westridge, Nyanga, Scottsdene, Gugulethu, Langa, Valhalla Park Recreation Hub, Kewtown, Steenberg, Heideveld, Crossroads, Atlantis, and Hanover Park.

Five-a-side: Portlands Indoor Centre, Langa Sports Complex, Witsand Sports Complex, Ocean View Sports Complex, Grassy Park Sport and Recreation Centre,
Elukhanisweni Sport and Recreation Centre, Lwandle sports field, Bishop Lavis sports grounds, Uitsig sports grounds, and the Valhalla Park Recreation Hub.

These are areas which were identified as being most under-served in terms of sports facilities. A number of the facilities also have floodlights installed to facilitate night-time use.

The Recreation and Parks Department is working hard to optimise the booking system for synthetic pitches specifically to ensure that they are used to their capacity and are accessible to a wide range of clubs and users.

‘The synthetic pitches are built according to FIFA specifications and they have several advantages over conventional fields. Not only can they be used for longer periods, but they are also more affordable to maintain and offer a water-wise alternative to grass fields. The latter is especially pertinent in the current climate.

‘These artificial turfs encourage extensive usage without interruption for rehabilitation. They go a long way towards alleviating the burden on existing grass soccer fields and are a solution to the land constraints which hinder the development of more playing surfaces at sports facilities. They provide an innovative and sustainable solution that has enabled the City to better meet the ever-growing needs of the sporting community,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Earlier this year, the Recreation and Parks Department instituted a triage system for grass sports fields to mitigate the impact of the drought crisis. Fields are assessed against a set of criteria which then determines whether they are useable and for how long.

‘We are trying to manage the situation as best as we can and we appreciate the cooperation of sporting codes affected by the situation. We’ve heard the calls for more synthetic pitches and as our track record shows, we’ve already made a significant investment in this regard. But the investment is costly, and therefore not an overnight solution. It is still the responsibility of everyone involved and affected to ensure that the sporting facilities at our disposal are used in a manner that will ensure long-term sustainability,’ added Alderman Smith.

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