Selkirk youngsters are being put at a disadvantage because of sports pitches which were branded as deplorable this week.
"They are hard as rock in winter and waterlogged in summer, and our kids deserve better," said Councillor Vicky Davidson.
She told the Eildon Area Committee on Monday she had been perturbed to hear that Selkirk RFC's mini section, the Rhinos, had been forced to cancel all its matches on the back pitch behind the main stand at Philiphaugh.
"It is in a terrible state and I hear the club has deemed it unplayable for the rest of the season," said Ms Davidson. "It has never recovered from the 2003 flood and things got worse when it was used for parking and camping during this summer's Merida Mountain Biking Rally. On top of that, Scottish Gas have installed a gas main under part of the pitch." Ms Davidson said the condition of the football pitch used by juniors north of nearby Yarrow Park was not much better and many matches had also been cancelled.
And she highlighted drainage problems with the two hockey pitches at Selkirk High School, saying: "They are so muddy they are frequently unplayable and the girls have to play home games at Tweedbank."
"We are trying to promote sport, healthy living and fitness among our youngsters but in Selkirk they are at a definite disadvantage compared to other towns," said Ms Davidson, demanding a response from Jason Hedley, Scottish Borders Council's manager of parks and open spaces.
Mr Hedley said it was unfortunate the three factors of flooding, the mountain bike event and the gas pipelaying, allied to persistent wet weather, had left the back pitch at Philiphaugh unplayable.
But he revealed that a turf consultant who was a member of the Institute of Groundsman was due to inspect the back pitch next week, during a tour of five problem sports areas across the Borders.
"He will advise us on the options open to the council (which lease out both the rugby and football pitches]. It has been suggested that quaking (shaking up and disturbing the surface) would be enough, but that would only be effective as part of an integrated process which would involved sanding, seeding, loaming and perhaps a new drainage system.
"This expert has helped us successfully deal with sports pitches on flood plains in the past and his advice has always been very beneficial.
"We need clear guidance and advice and must look at this on a long-term management basis."
Regarding the hockey pitches next to Pringle Park, he said they were the responsibility of SBC's education department.
Source:- Selkirk Advertiser