A continuous green link connecting the Sydney Harbour foreshore is a step closer, with Callan Park, a pitch used Canterbury District Soccer Football Association’s Balmain & District Football Club is set for a $14 million makeover under the new management of the Greater Sydney Parklands.
The new plans will see a missing link in the Bay Run fully pedestrianised and upgraded, the removal of two dilapidated buildings, new picnic areas, parks, accessible amenities, the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage and much more.
Balmain & District Football Club President Paul Avery was delighted with the news his beloved club was set to see one of its pitches gain a much-needed upgrade.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” said a beaming Avery.
“The announcement was a really positive way to start our season.
“There’s been a huge outpouring of support and smiles from our members, as well as the wider football community.”
The view to upgrade Callan Park has come at a fantastic time for the club as Avery stated to Football NSW Balmain & District FC are especially experiencing a significant growth within their female football registrations.
“In the past few seasons, we have experienced phenomenal growth in female participation. 2018 was 724 players, 2019 was 799, 2020 was 863 girls and women, and that was in a season filled with the uncertainty of COVID-19.
“The unexpected growth has been in Under 6’s-Under 8’s Girls, 28% above plan and Over 30 Women we went from zero to 42 players – that’s two whole teams of Football mums actually playing the game.
“These girls and women will be with us for the next decade, and there’s a whole lot more hot on their heels.
“Our Under 12s is a snapshot of the future as we had 189 registered players last season, 94 of them (that’s 49.74%) were girls.
“In that context, the announcement of funding for the clubhouse is also about gender equality and creating facilities that women feel comfortable using. We don’t have any usable changerooms at Waterfront and the toilets are only marginally better. This announcement will help provide the facilities our female players, and our Football4All players, so desperately needed.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the major works represented a significant milestone for the new public parkland authority.
“Greater Sydney Parklands is the first body to have a Metropolitan-wide focus on the city’s green spaces, and these plans for Callan Park are the first step in our vision to connect Sydney’s stunning harbour foreshore with public parks and green links,” Mr Stokes said.
“These works will see a tricky section of the Bay Run fixed, meaning pedestrians and cyclists will no longer have to weave around motorists looking for parking in a space that will make better use of its prime position on the foreshore.
“We’re enhancing the best of Callan Park’s heritage while maximising public space to make this one of the true jewels in Sydney’s crown.
“I’d like to thank and acknowledge the Member for Balmain Jamie Parker, who has been a tireless advocate of Callan Park for more than 20 years.”
A development application for the first stage of improvements at the waterfront will be lodged in early March with work on site expected to begin later this year. The improvements will complement the $2 million upgrade to Waterfront Sports Ground undertaken by Inner West Council in 2019.
Greater Sydney Parklands will begin engagement on a Companion Animal Management Plan over the coming months to balance the needs of dog owners and other park users.