Pictured: (Top) Kyogle FC field completely submerged in water during the March 2017 flood. (Bottom) The damage at Lismore Workers Football Club after flood water reached the top level of the clubhouse.
Many communities across the Football Far North Coast footprint are grappling with the aftermath of the biggest flood since 1974. The devastation in residential areas can be seen in “street after street” in Lismore, with piles of ruined furniture and household items awaiting disposal over coming weeks. The levee built about 15 years ago to withstand a flood level of approximately 10 metres was unable to withstand the subsequent 11.6 metre flood peak on this occasion and waters of between one to three metres have caused havoc in Lismore CBD. We extend our sincere well wishes to the thousands of people who are today counting the cost of this natural disaster. The impact of this flood is however being felt beyond Lismore. Communities that include Uki and Mullumbimby in the North, Woodburn to the South and Kyogle to the West, are all amongst areas of the region that have been affected.
Our thoughts are with EVERY individual person who is affected in some way because of this flood. These people are our friends, neighbours, local business people we know or even those who we have never met. They ALL make up our community and we offer a collective solidarity and resolve that everything will return to normal soon enough.
The football family is not immune from the effects of this flood, with significant damage reported from at least five member clubs. The extent of the damage is yet to be quantified, however we anticipate loss of equipment, infrastructure and some grounds are unlikely to be playable for many weeks?
With grounds and facilities activity dependent upon volunteers whose priorities are for their families, homes, places of employment or their own business, football demands must necessarily “take its turn!”
The pragmatic assessment for football competitions beyond this point, ranges from factoring in the majority of grounds that are likely “ready or almost ready” for play (subject to favourable weather) to grounds that are “CLOSED and likely to be weeks away?”. The complete postponement of games this past weekend brings the total number of games to be re-scheduled to about 120, with many more to be no doubt postponed this coming weekend. The Easter break and upcoming school holidays will provide an opportunity for grounds to recover further before ALL football (including MiniRoos) is scheduled to commence on the weekend of 28/29/30 April. This event coming at the start of the 2017 season will at least allow more time to retrieve normality over coming months.
Football Far North Coast is currently working through the options for scheduled games for the weekend of 7/8/9 April and beyond. This includes FFA Cup games scheduled for next week, Callan McMillan Semi-Finals, plus ANZAC Cup and Callan McMillan Cup Finals that are scheduled for Oakes Oval, Lismore on 21/22 April. These Finals are in extreme doubt for that venue and we are in discussions with Southern Cross University about the availability of the synthetic pitch.
We reiterate recent communication that the well-being of every person is paramount and while football is secondary to that, every reasonable effort will be made to resume normal activity with priority. Your understanding is requested as we manage the challenging and sometimes conflicting issues while aiming to be respectful and sensitive to the things that are happening within the community.
Enquiries on football matters are invited via your member club or to Football Far North Coast if required.