The COVID-19 testing clinic at Hanging Rock has put extra pressure on sporting clubs that use the facility. One club says it led to one Australian football being cancelled on the weekend because of the visiting team's concerns.
The pop-up testing clinic was set up on Thursday, July 16, and Friday's late night news of COVID-19 cases at Batemans Bay caused a frantic rush for testing that Saturday morning.
Batemans Bay Seahawks president Heath Petterwood felt the clinic was not at a suitable location.
"I know it has to be somewhere, but not at the largest sporting hub in the shire," Petterwood said.
The Hanging Rock Sporting Complex is home to basketball, tennis, Aussie Rules, Rugby Union and cricket.
The scene on Saturday morning was a flurry of health workers wearing masks, directing cars backed up to the tennis courts. The car park was full of people waiting patiently, wearing masks to get tested.
Three ANU Griffins grades were to play the Seahawks on Saturday. Petterwood said the Canberra teams pulled out Saturday morning.
"They had forfeited due to their concerns with COVID - their biggest concern was the testing being done in the car park," Petterwood said.
An ANU spokesperson said: "Due to new positive COVID cases recently identified in the area, it was decided that we would not travel to the Bay. We want to thank our players for their support of this decision, and our opposition, the Seahawks, for how graciously a last-minute withdrawal was received."
Batemans Bay Boars president Peter Ryan said the junior girls' Rugby Union game went ahead on Saturday, with parking moved to the tennis courts. He said this weekend could become "very crowded" as three home games were scheduled.
If the testing clinic was still inundated with people on Saturday, he said it would become "disruptive".
"I know the community needs the clinic, if there's a better spot it should be considered," Ryan said.
Petterwood said there was a lack of communication from the council.
"At the end of the day, we accept it's council property, but some communication would have been appreciated," Petterwood said.
He suggested Corrigans Cove as a more suitable location.
However, the council did not agree.
A council spokesperson said Corrigans would not be a good option.
"The priority is to give the community access to testing; we need good traffic management to do that because of the volume of people getting tested," the spokesperson said.
The council would hold a meeting on Wednesday to review the clinic's location.
"Council is committed to reviewing the clinic location," the spokesperson said.
"The council will have a conversation with the Seahawks on Wednesday."
The council granted access to NSW Health to position the clinic at Hanging Rock for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks had cancelled training until further notice. Petterwood said the club was in discussion with South Coast AFL and Canberra AFL.
"Players declined coming to training and we support that for their health, so training is off this week," he said.
Petterwood said all Seahawks grades had been vigilant at training, following all NSW Health guidelines "and some".
Coming into next week, Petterwood said the club would monitor the situation and decide whether the season would go ahead. They will make an informed decision guided by South Coast and Canberra AFL.
"The primary concern is everyone's health," Petterwood said.
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