Club fears being kicked to the kerb

PROSPECT Knights Soccer Club president Marco La Palombara fears his players will be forced out of the Prospect Park sports ground if new Tasmanian State League team Western Storm is allowed to use the facility.

The new club asked the Meander Valley Council this week to use Prospect Park for training.

Users of the park have been invited to a meeting at the nearby Australian Italian Club tomorrow at 5.30pm to hear about the Western Storm proposal. The facility is managed by the Prospect Park Sports Club and its president Daniel Smedley said several meetings were planned to resolve the Western Storm request.

Mr Smedley said three sports used the venue - touch football in summer and soccer and football in winter - and shared costs and resources.

A 2012 council development plan on the facility said it could not handle any increased use.

"The Western Storm are owned by the Prospect Hawks football clubs (which are based at Prospect Park) so they are effectively all one club providing a football pathway for the people in the area," Mr Smedley said.

Western Storm has replaced South Launceston in the TSL. Mr Smedley was the part-time chief executive of South Launceston but is now listed on the Prospect Hawks website as its treasurer.

"Prospect Park is subject to a master plan and now just needs to get some dollar resources and political will and we can see all these users getting on as much as possible," he said.

Mr La Palombara, who is vice- president of the Prospect Park Sports Club, said he was afraid the four soccer clubs that use the facility would be forced out if Western Storm was allowed in.

"They say they are only going to use the football ground and that's okay. But when there's [football] training sessions now we are basically locked out of the first aid room."

He said access to change rooms and the function room for team teas after training had also been restricted. "And we are expected as a soccer club to pay half the rent," Mr La Palombara said.

"We've been here 24 years and built the original clubrooms. The Launceston City Soccer Club has been here about the same time.

"We're concerned they will railroad us," he said. "My understanding is that if the issue isn't resolved tomorrow night it will have to go to council."

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