Sporting reserves in Perth are so overused that councils are considering resurfacing pitches with synthetic grass to meet demand.
City of Melville mayor Russell Aubrey said a soccer and hockey pitch at Len Shearer Reserve in Booragoon might become the first metropolitan field to be resurfaced with artificial turf.
The council has obtained a grant of $1million and earmarked $1.2 million for the project. It will consider a final concept design later this year.
Last week, a State Government commissioned report into reserves used for recreation, organised sports and outdoor play revealed that suburban Perth needed another 51.6ha of open space, the equivalent of 23 Aussie Rules ovals, to meet the needs of the population.
The report also said that unless action was taken, the shortfall could blow out to 510ha by 2031.
Mr Aubrey said the shortage of sporting fields meant that established reserves such as Len Shearer were being used at unprecedented levels.
"Not only are we seeing our own local sporting clubs grow but also we are seeing clubs from suburbs surrounding us using our facilities because they don't have their own," he said.
"Increased use along with reduced rainfall and strict water caps means a grass pitch is not sustainable long term - we've had to look into options like AstroTurf.
"It's not something we particularly want and it's expensive but it's a growing reality for us."
Mr Aubrey said it would cost about $2 million to resurface the Len Shearer pitch with synthetic grass.
City of Vincent mayor Alannah MacTiernan said synthetic grass was also being considered at overused parks in her area.
Ms MacTiernan said the problem could not be solved by local councils alone. She called on the Government to "share the burden" of providing recreation areas.
Ms MacTiernan said State Government should go 50-50 with local governments in purchasing land for parks and reserves and, in some cases where State-owned land was concerned, offer it for free.
Mr Aubrey said the City of Melville had spent more than $16 million in the past few years buying land from the Government for parks and reserves.
"We're creating a facility for the community - we don't get any profit from it but we pay full market rates," he said.Acting Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Redman said the Government had trebled the amount of money spent on grassroots sport and recreation over the past four-years, totalling about $100 million.
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