Community members have raised concerns about the state of the Apex Oval precinct as the new Group 11 season and an NRL match in Dubbo draws nearer.
Todd O'Dea, someone with a long history with the Dubbo CYMS club and rugby league in the city, has spoken out about the condition of the road along the main Cobra St entrance as well as the general unkempt nature of the precinct.
Numerous potholes can be found along the road into the ground while water also pools around the gate following rain and Mr O'Dea claims fallen trees and branches and patches of weeds leave the entrance looking "disgusting".
"Cobra Street is one of the main thoroughfares in and out of Dubbo and people see that horrible entrance," Mr O'Dea said.
Mr O'Dea was particularly concerned given there could potentially be more than 10,000 people attend the NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers on May 23 and countless more from around the country could be watching on TV.
Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields agreed more could be done to improve the facility and while he said conversations are already taking place to upgrade the ground, not all may be completed before the NRL arrives.
"If they see that, it's just not right," Mr O'Dea said.
"I reckon if we're allowed to get 12,000 people for the Panthers-South Sydney game, which we could get easy because it will attract people from all over the west, we need to make it look good when they come to visit our facilities."
As someone who regularly attends the facility during the rugby league season, Mr O'Dea felt the elderly, families with prams, or people in wheelchairs would have real difficulty entering and exiting the ground in its current state.
He claimed he and numerous people he knows have contacted Dubbo Regional Council previously to raise concerns and said he felt it would take little time, effort and cost to "tidy it up".
"We could do some more when it comes to the aesthetics of Apex Oval," Cr Shields said.
"I have had an approach from one club and I tend to agree. We do need to get the aesthetics better and the great tragedy of Apex Oval is it's such a great facility and so much effort goes into the upkeep and make it the best facility west of the mountains, but at the front it's not as good as it could be."
My care for Dubbo goes a long way and I'm very proud of Dubbo but I think it needs to be fixed.Todd O'Dea
Cr Shields stated issues like potholes "need to be fixed straight away" while council was looking at ways to access grant money for an "upgrade of Apex Oval across the board".
Access to more parking and improved fencing have also been spoken about recently at council but Cr Shields added those type of capital upgrades "can be quite expensive" and would need grants from the federal or state government to be completed.
Mr O'Dea is well aware costs are involved in those matters but he wants to see one of the premier facilities in Dubbo live up to that title.
"I was involved with Apex Oval when they did (redeveloped) it," he said.
"We came up here one week and voluntarily laid some grass. My care for Dubbo goes a long way and I'm very proud of Dubbo but I think it needs to be fixed."
Cr Shields could not speak about parking and crowd issues for the NRL game at great length yet as he said it will all depend on COVID restrictions and health regulations in place at the time.
Another matter Mr O'Dea raised the tender for the canteen rights on NRL day.
Council has put out a tender but Mr O'Dea said that was "disappointing" as local sporting clubs should have the chance to run the canteens and be involved given they have the experience of doing it throughout the season plus it would boost funds for all involved.
But Cr Shields said cost recovery was important for ratepayers.
"We are sinking quite a lot of money into getting Souths here so I think the best thing at the moment would be to get as many paying vendors there so this game doesn't cost ratepayers as much," he said.
"I think it's importin that footy clubs know we're still not quite there yet when it comes to working out what their role in this footy game.
"I'm very, very keen to make sure they have a significant role in the game, not just a token effort."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: