The Greens will oppose artificial turf on Arlington Reserve when it once again comes before Council on Tuesday 19 February 2013. The Greens have consistently stood with the community in opposition to artificial turf.
Historic Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill
Plastic grass only makes financial sense if you maximise the use of a sports ground. However, Arlington Reserve is located in a high density residential area, with limited parking. If Marrickville Council votes to go ahead with artificial turf it is either wasting $1.1 million of ratepayers money on a surface that will only be used by a few players each week, or it will have to increase usage of the ground to the detriment of local residents.
There are many other good reasons to oppose artificial turf, as set out by Greens Councillor for Burraga West Ward, Melissa Brooks in her letter to residents below.
Currently the vote on Council looks like being 6 – 6. With the 4 Greens Councillors, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna, and Liberal Councillor (North Ward) Mark Gardiner against; the four Labor Councillors, Independent Councillor Victor Macri, and Liberal Councillor (West Ward) Rosanna Tyler for artificial turf.
If this is the vote, then Mayor Macri can choose to use his casting vote for push through artificial turf.
Reports from local residents indicate that Liberal Councillor Rosanna Tyler seems to have adopted a very strange stance of only talking or being concerned with residents who voted for her – which means she effectively will ignore over 75% of the residents of her ward!
In 2009, Labor voted against artificial turf. Labor Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias circulated a letter to local residents saying that Labor considered Arlington Reserve unsuitable for artificial turf. It remains to be seen whether Labor Councillor will betray this promise to local residents. For more information visit savearlingtonreserve.com
Letter from Councillor Brooks below (or download PDF)
Greens councillor, Burraga West Ward
Greens committed to protecting Arlington Reserve
I am writing to update you on Marrickville Council’s discussions about the future of Arlington Reserve.
You may be aware that Council is currently considering installing artificial turf on Arlington Reserve, having previously rejected this proposal due to residents’ concerns in 2009.
The Greens on Marrickville Council have consistently opposed the move to resurface Arlington Reserve with an artificial surface, for a number of reasons:
Intensification of usage
If the surface were converted to artificial turf, Council would be under enormous pressure to make a return from that investment and intensify usage in order to increase revenue from use of the reserve.
While some Councillors are promising not to increase usage of the reserve, Council will inevitably come under pressure from sporting clubs to increase usage to alleviate a shortage in sporting fields. Artificial surfaces are designed to maximise usage, but Arlington Reserve is located in an area that can not sustain such usage. If Council believes an artificial surface is necessary, it should be located in a more appropriate area with suitable infrastructure.
In 2011 Council spent $272,214 on improving the natural grass surface. Resurfacing Arlington with artificial turf is an even more expensive venture that benefits only a few members of our community. It will cost $1.1 million to install an artificial surface, which will need to be replaced at least once every ten years. This does not include the huge disposal costs for artificial surfaces. This cannot be offset by the minor reduction in maintenance costs that comes with an artificial surface.
Loss of amenity for residents
An artificial surface will retain heat and not possess the natural cooling effects of a natural surface, dramatically increasing the ambient heat in the immediate area.
Loss of community use
The community’s enjoyment of this reserve will be compromised and conversion to an artificial surface may effectively privatise this beautiful public asset. Artificial turf is unsuitable for many other community uses of the reserve, especially during the summer when the surface will become a heat source.
The verdict is still out on the environmental impacts of artificial surfaces. Risks of installing an artificial surface include chemical leaching and destruction of bandicoot and bird foraging habitat.
We do know that artificial surfaces have huge carbon footprints across their lifecycle, from manufacturing, installation, transportation, maintenance, and a very slow disposal in landfill. Natural surfaces act as a carbon sink and help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
I was the only Councillor representing West Ward to stand with the community to oppose the proposal to resurface Arlington Reserve with artificial turf.
My fellow Greens Councillors, as well as Independent Councillor Morris Hanna and Councillor Mark Gardiner have also committed to oppose the proposal.
In 2009 Labor admitted that Arlington Reserve was not a suitable location for artificial turf and voted against it. Why have the Labor Councillors betrayed this commitment? What has changed?
I urge you to contact Labor and Liberal Councillors and let them know your views on this issue, as well as your State and Federal Members of Parliament. Contact details for your Councillors are available at www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/council/councillors.html.
Marrickville Council will be discussing Arlington Reserve at the council meeting at 6.30pm on Tuesday 19th February, at Council’s offices in Fisher Street, Petersham. Residents are welcome to attend. If you wish to speak at the meeting you should register in advance – more information is available on the Council website.
Please feel free to contact me regarding this, or any other matter.
Greens councillor for West Burraga Ward, Marrickville Council