|Following concerns about the unplayable football pitches at Riverside after seven players sustained injuries because of stones hidden in the soil (as I reported earlier this month), at the West End Sports and Heritage Association (WESHA) committee meeting last night, I was pleased to indicate that, after extensive work by Dundee City Council’s Environment Department to tackle the problem, the pitches will be back in action next weekend.
As WESHA Secretary and along with Vice-Chair Steve McSwiggan, who is a leading member of the Riverside Saturday morning football league, we reported back to WESHA’s committee following a meeting we have had with senior officers in the council’s Environment Department about the issue.
The six pitches to the south side of Riverside Drive are on reclaimed land and settlement of the ground has lead stones to the top of the soil, causing the safety problem. The Environment Department has extensively verti-drained all six pitches and given particular attention to the two pitches nearest the road where the greatest concentration of stones was found. Verti-draining is a process that both flicks out any stones and also helps with drainage too.
The council is taking a cautious approach to ensure that the issue was fully resolved before allowing playing to resume on the pitches.
We were advised that at the very least four pitches will be back on at the weekend, although the council will continue with the verti-draining process in coming weeks to ensure there are no further incidents. There will also be weekly spiking of the pitches and full weekly inspections of the pitches where Environment Department staff will walk each of the pitches to ensure they are safe for football.
The Saturday Morning League is a vital part of the WESHA project to improve sporting facilities at Riverside for the benefit of the West End and the wider community. We are therefore relieved that football activity at Riverside can re-start at the weekend.
The WESHA committee last night also had a presentation from the Scottish Ramblers’ Association about Medal Routes – walking hubs to encourage active walking – and also discussed was WESHA’s new social network presence – on Facebook and Twitter.