Murwillumbah Football Club president Jason Dittmar and Tweed Council’s Greg Willetts.
Murwillumbah Football Club president Jason Dittmar and Tweed Council’s Greg Willetts. Blainey Woodham

Fields of streams

SPORTS players across the Tweed can now use a new hi-tech mobile phone service to find out whether games are going to go ahead when wet weather raises doubts.

Beach goers, library users and motorists worried about rain or fire closing roads can also use the service.

The big winners, according to Murwillumbah Football Club president and proprietor of Sportsworld in Murwillumbah, Jason Dittmar, will be volunteer club members who currently can spend hours letting players know if games are going ahead or have been cancelled.

“It’s really hard when you have so many phone calls coming in with people ringing at seven o’clock in the morning asking if a game is still on,” Mr Dittmar said yesterday.

“You have to go and inspect the field then call them back.

“The amount of phone calls volunteers make back to their members is really taxing. This is going to make it a lot easier on our hip pockets for sure.”

Instead, under the new council system players can simply send an SMS message with a short code which prompts an immediate “bounce back” reply on whether that particular sports field is open.

An even more hi-tech version of the system allows users of so-called smart phones to download an icon onto their phone which connects to information on a huge range of sports fields, beaches, roads and other council services.

“It’s going to make it easier for us when there’s wet weather to check the condition of the field,” said Mr Dittmar.

Currently the system only provides sports field information five days a week and not during weekends, which would be more important for sports people.

But Tweed Shire Council officers hope that by announcing the system yesterday, leaders of sports groups will be slightly familiar with it when the council asks for help in providing weekend updates to the system in coming months.

Launching the service yesterday council techno whiz (Director of Technology and Corporate Services) Troy Green said the smart phone bounce back service and the SMS system would provide information within seconds.

Each council sportsground would have a unique code and the information would be refreshed at 9am each week day until sports associations hopefully come on board for weekend updates.

“We are trying to bed it in first and are going to each sporting association to see if they will take it up,” Mr Green said.

Computer users can also still access information on sports field closures on the council website www.tweed.nsw.gov.au. That website also provides details on how to use the new smart phone and SMS service.



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