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Despite occupying just a fraction of the land formerly used for the Belair Golf Course, a proposal to build soccer pitches on part of Australia’s second oldest national park is struggling to get public support.

Earlier this month, the SA government announced its draft master plan for the south-west corner of the Belair National Park (BNP) site, where 51 hectares of land have been left in limbo since voluntary administration of the golf course and country club function center began in early 2018.

The government proposed to further expand the present mountain bike operation and walking trails of the precinct, and to create a Sturt Lions Football Club-run seven-pitch soccer field and clubroom.

A lot of resistance from respondents has been attracted by the soccer pitch plan.

“Principle One of the Master Plan is stated as: Protection and restoration of the natural environment and heritage. The inclusion of 10 hectares for soccer pitches goes very much against that.” — Steve

“Mountain bike trails seem like a good idea. Wildlife park with flora/fauna observation and education also seems like a good idea. Clearance and excavation of over 10 hectares of natural land seems bizarre and very much against everything a national park stands for.” — Anne

“I think the soccer plan is really inappropriate. I am pro-soccer and clubs but this just doesn’t fit at all with the park, the location, local area, aesthetics etc etc.” — Ande

“Seven pitch soccer club, surely not! Sorry, nothing personal, just not the right spot. The mountain bike and hiking trails would work perfectly in with bringing back the native bush — I strongly agree with this side of the proposal.” — Tim

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“BNP was reserved for the people of South Australia and for conservation purposes. I feel that it erodes these purposes by having it used as soccer pitches for a specific club, indeed it goes directly against the original intent.” — Sharyn

The pitches will be constructed on 10 hectares of the most publicly available property — a former fairway next to an arterial road.

BNP, which was founded in 1841, already has within its main boundary two cricket and football ovals that are used regularly by sports clubs and schools.

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