AFTER an almost year long ban by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the North Wangaratta Football and Netball Club returned to training at their home ground last night.
It’s a monumental step for the Hawks who have struggled against almost overwhelming odds on and off the field to survive without any home ground to train or play on, and no access to clubrooms or the club’s function room which was the club’s financial lifeline.
“It was the first night we could have netballers and footballers training at home,” Hawks president Nate Bartlett said.
“It’s a massive moment for us and it has taken a lot of work to get to this point.”
Access to the ground looked for a while like it could be delayed further due to the condition of some of the club’s plant and equipment which had been left virtually abandoned due to the ban.
Vital equipment owned and operated by the club, including a tractor to mow the grass, and pumps and sprinklers to irrigate the oval had fallen into disrepair and would cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
Like all Section 86 committees, the club must be able to maintain the property to continue to have access to it.
“The tractor and the pumps have both been affected by water and because we weren’t able to access the ground to service them they now need major repairs or replacing,” Mr Bartlett said.