Football fever lands in Kotara as City of Newcastle delivers million-dollar revamp

13 Aug 2023

Female footballers inspired by the Matildas’ World Cup heroics will have access to more inclusive amenities as part of City of Newcastle’s $1.2 million upgrade of Lugar Park.

The project, which was funded by City of Newcastle, the NSW Government and the Kotara South Football Club, has transformed the Kotara sportsground into an inclusive and fully accessible football facility for referees, community spectators, and home and away players alike.

The existing amenities building was extended to create a welcoming and accessible space for male and female players and officials, with the addition of a second unisex changeroom, accessible amenities and a unisex referees’ room.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the project has transformed the existing infrastructure into a fit-for-purpose football facility that supports our growing female participation and the needs of all our community members.

“City of Newcastle is committed to investing in inclusive facilities to ensure players and referees have access to environments that enable, facilitate and retain participation by females, both at a grassroots and senior level,” Cr Nelmes said.

“With the FIFA Women’s World Cup being hosted on home soil, participation by women and girls will only continue to grow, which is why it is vital we deliver projects such as Lugar Park, which provide enjoyable spaces that allow women and girls to feel connected and welcome in their chosen sport.”

Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said the project supports a key global sustainable development goal in CN's Delivering Newcastle 2040 strategic plan to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

“We have worked collaboratively with Kotara South Football Club to design an inclusive place for all. The facility celebrates their growing club, and offers a facility where people of all ages, genders and abilities can come together to enjoy sport,” Cr Winney-Baartz said.

The Hon Jodie Harrison MP, Member for Charlestown and Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault welcomed the upgraded amenities.

“Lugar Park is a much-loved hub for local sport and this upgrade is a very welcome addition for the community of Kotara,” Minister Harrison said.

“The improvements to the park’s amenities will ensure it remains a fantastic venue for players, officials and volunteers, who are all vital to the success of our local sporting programs.”

Equipment storage and a new canteen completed the building upgrade, while upgraded pathways from the carpark to the grounds, and an all-weather covered area for spectators have provided a more comfortable and accessible environment for all members of the community.

Kotara South Football Club President Bryn Hoskins said the club strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for females, juniors and people with diverse abilities.

“Around one third of our members are female and participation is growing. With contemporary female-friendly changerooms and toilets, a new kiosk and disability access, these new facilities will help grow our sport by providing a positive experience for both male and female players, referees, coaches, volunteers and spectators,” Mr Hoskins said.

“The facility will be highly used by Kotara South Football Club as well as local cricket and other sporting groups. We thank City of Newcastle for its professional oversight and management of this quality construction. Kotara South Football Club is excited to officially open the upgraded amenities building at Lugar Park.”