4 August 2023

North Wagga clubs see bright future as McPherson Oval upgrade puts fixtures in new light

| Jarryd Rowley
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lights being installed at oval

McPherson Oval’s new LED light towers have left many community members, including the local Australian rules and cricket clubs, excited about the ground hosting night events. Photo: Wagga Wagga City Council.

North Wagga’s McPherson Oval is set to light up brighter than ever after the installation of four new 30-metre LED floodlight towers.

Wagga City Council called upon local contractors to remove the 0ld light towers in May.

They also built trenches, installed new cables and created footings for the new lights.

Rain throughout June and July delayed the project, but all four towers have been installed within the past fortnight.

Wagga Council parks and recreation project coordinator Phill Blake said the new towers would improve the quality of light over the oval and provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to the previous lights.

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The installation also considered potential future floods.

“The control gear and circuit breakers for the lights have been positioned above the one-in-100-year flood level to ensure they are safe in the event of a flood,” Mr Blake said.

“Wet weather delayed the project during June and July, however, with the recent clearer weather the cranes were able to come in to install the final poles and lights this week.

“Now that the poles have been installed, the LED lights will need to be aimed to ensure there is less spillage of lighting onto adjoining properties.”

The cost of the new lighting was heavily supported by the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, which supplied $364,171 of the $406,116 price tag, with the council providing the remaining $40,945.

North Wagga Australian Football Netball Club president Brendan Nilsen has welcomed the new lights and the opportunities the upgrade will offer.

“We believe that McPherson Oval is one of, if not the best, traditional oval in Wagga,” he said.

“A lot of people have worked hard to keep the condition of the oval as close to perfect as it possibly can be, including curator and president of the cricket club [Wagga Wagga City Cats], Owen Thompson.”

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Although the football club won’t see the benefits of the new lights until the 2024 pre-season begins, Mr Nilsen is already eager for potential night games to be played at the ground.

“All of the club’s teams, girls, boys, juniors and seniors, will be able to train later and really take advantage of the new resources we now have,” he said.

“It brings the prospect of hosting night games, which is exciting for players and spectators. It would be nice to have those night games out here instead of exclusively at Robinson Oval.”

Despite the new lights being installed, Mr Nilsen is hoping the upgrades will shine a light on possible drainage works for which several members of the Australian rules and cricket clubs have been advocating.

“The next big issue is the drainage. We are thankful for the lights and we are grateful for them but the next step is fixing the drain work,” Mr Nilsen said.

“The ground doesn’t drain well. It makes it next to impossible to play sport after heavy streaks of rain, and once that is improved we will have close to a perfect sporting ground.”

The new lights are expected to be operational in September.

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