Clarence Valley Council is considering a proposal to rename the rugby union field adjacent to Yamba Oval.
Councillors unanimously supported the idea, to name it after Wallabies- and NSW Waratahs-capped player Kane Douglas, who currently plays with the Queensland Reds.
The 27-year-old has worn the Waratahs jersey 76 times and represented Australia on 23 occasions – he captained the U17 Yamba Buccaneers side to a premiership in 2006.
Councillor Sue Hughes gained unanimous support for the idea at the April council meeting: that the council, as corporate trust manager of the field, “publicly exhibit and consult with Yaegl native title claimants, the Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council, Crown Lands NSW and users, on a proposal to name the Yamba Rugby Field No 2 the Kane Douglas Rugby Field”.
Councillor Hughes consulted with Yamba Rugby Club’s president, committee members and players, and Kane’s father, Chris, “who are all in support of this recommendation”, she wrote in her notice of motion.
“It is fitting that Council consider this request as an acknowledgement of Kane’s achievements with his career in Rugby Union, both representing the Clarence Valley in a regional context and representing Australia at the highest level possible.”
The council, if the proposal is approved, will be making an exception to its policy, which “is clear in that a park or reserve (implying also a part of a park or reserve) not be named after a living person”, the report to council stated.
However, this policy was relaxed in the past when the athletics track at Barnier Park was named the Terry West Athletics Field in 2014.
Once approved locally, the proposal would most likely go to the Geographical Names Board (GNB), which has a policy that “names of persons should normally only be given posthumously” to sports fields and the like.
The GNB, however, “may at its discretion approve a feature name which honours a living person”, whose contribution [has] “been of outstanding benefit to the community”.
The council’s policy also contains guidelines for the naming of parks and reserves, which recommends that the “names for parks and reserves [can] include: Aboriginal names of significance to the area, subject to the prior approval of the relevant local Aboriginal Land Council and Council’s Aboriginal Liaison Committee; native flora and fauna…; names of, prominent citizens or identities, excluding living persons; war casualty lists; and names of early river pilots and historical river boats.”
In Yamba’s case, according to the policy, naming preferences should be drawn from “early ships/river boats, captains, pilots and maritime themes”.
The council’s staff recommended to the councillors that “should council choose to proceed to name the field after Mr Douglas it is recommended that the current policy be also amended such that, for namings that require GNB approval there should be no namings after living persons”.
The proposal is on public exhibition and submissions can be lodged up until 4pm, June 27, 2016.