The Mildura Sporting Precinct indoor playing surface has met or exceeded all compliance and sporting standards following rigorous testing over the past week.
Despite being given a clean bill of health by experts in indoor sporting surfaces, a new gloss coating will be applied to further improve conditions for players.
The move follows recent concerns from community sporting groups about friction levels on the indoor playing surface, which was quickly traced to a thin film of dust settling on the playing surface.
Council Acting Chief Executive Officer Martin Hawson said changes were made to the way the playing surface was cleaned, which improved conditions significantly according to user groups over the past week, confirming the source of the problem.
Mr Hawson said Council also engaged a specialist in indoor sporting surfaces to conduct tests on the playing surface to confirm it met the required standards.
These test results were received on Thursday this week, revealing the floor met, or in most cases exceeded the required ‘slip resistance’ standards, including those set out by FIBA (International Basketball Federation).
Mr Hawson said despite these positive results, Council in partnership with flooring supplier Ace Floors and Coatings, have decided to take an additional step to further improve friction levels on the playing surface.
“As the testing results showed this week, our flooring supplier has done a great job and supplied a quality product that meets all the required standards, however given our often dusty climate, and to provide an even better playing surface, a gloss finish will be applied over the coming week,” he said.
“This will not only improve friction levels, but allow more ‘wet cleaning’ to better respond to dust and other environmental factors.”
Ace Floors and Coatings Principal Partner Jason Tully provided more detail about the playing surface, which is a Sprung Timber Floor System, featuring a matt finish.
Mr Tully said the flooring system was imported from Europe and met all FIBA requirements for performance and compliance.
“ACE strongly recommend a matt finish for new builds due to this preference by FIBA,” he said.
“However, feedback from the community and sporting groups clearly shows that environmental factors, such as levels of dust, is contributing to slip issues on the Mildura Sporting Precinct floor surface.
“We are happy to work in partnership with Mildura Rural City Council and the builder to apply a gloss finish to the courts, at no cost to Council.”
Mildura Basketball Association President Leigh Anderson said he was pleased with the quick response and action to address the friction levels on the playing surface.
“It’s been great to see this issue rectified so quickly, and we’re confident in the measures that have already been put in place, and the new treatment that will be applied, and look forward to returning our games to the Mildura Sporting Precinct,” Mr Anderson said.
Mildura Netball Association Vice President Alana Mills said her players were looking forward to playing on the new surface.
“We were really pleased with the playing of our games at Mildura Sporting Precinct, but do understand there remains an issue to be rectified,” Ms Mills said.
“We’re in full support of Council doing what is needed to be able to put this flooring issue to bed. We’re keen to see this done, and keen to resume playing at earliest opportunity”.
Work will start on the new coating this Monday and is expected to take a week to complete. Council will continue to work with precinct user groups throughout this period to minimise any disruption.