No easy fix for track’s deep problem

A water-logged bend at Ross Reserve is cordoned off by bollards. 239856_02 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A dangerous tripping hazard has been fixed but large puddling remains at Greater Dandenong’s premier athletics track.

The “minor repair work” comes after two Springvale Masters athletes broke arms after stumbling on a flapping, uplifted section of the rubber track at Ross Reserve, Noble Park.

Both elderly women were hospitalised.

During the repairs, the council was “repairing splits and delaminated areas” of the track, Greater Dandenong engineering director Paul Kearsley said.

“Consideration is being given to future reconstruction of the athletics track, subject to funding.”

The three-day project cost about $13,000, he said.

In the meantime, the track is frequently unusable due to a persistent puddle spanning half the track.

The water obstacle often stays for days even after modest rainfall.

Springvale Little Athletics past president Cassie Jacobs said the puddle could only be removed after an expensive and urgent reconstruction.

She has often swept water off the section before training. The club recently cordoned off the puddle as well as other trip hazards with bollards.

“It’s gotten worse – whatever is underneath the puddle has got worse. They’ll have to redo the bend and the entire track.”

The recent “patch-ups” were the first spots of maintenance for two years, she says.

The track – which hosts athletics clubs and about 20 school carnivals – was last resurfaced in 2012.

The surface is said to have been “bubbling” up ever since, requiring patchwork repairs by Greater Dandenong Council.

Last summer, the track had deteriorated to the point that it was deemed too unsafe to hold an annual regional little aths event, she said.

In the council’s 2021-’22 budget, the reserve’s football pavilion is set for a $7.9 million stage-two upgrade.

Recently, the Noble Park Revitalisation Board and Greater Dandenong Council announced a $2.3 million synthetic soccer pitch at the reserve.

Revitalisation board chair Lee Tarlamis said the council hadn’t yet raised the issue of the track’s reconstruction.