The Northbridge Experience

Maybe some people think we’re being alarmist or exaggerating in our concern about the impact that artificial turf will have on the area and residents surrounding Arlington Reserve.

Well, there’s no need to be cynical, or naive for that matter – it’s already happened, at Northbridge Oval on Sydney’s lower North Shore.

In 2011, Willoughby Council converted Northbridge Oval from natural to artificial turf.  Not only that, but according to local resident Phillip Kanjian, they ‘neglected’ to mention that State League Football would, or even might, become one of its primary users.  They did, and the intensification of use has had a dramatic effect on nearby residents.

In Marrickville Council’s report on conversion of Arlington to artificial turf (tabled on the 20/11/2012 meeting), it collectively quotes users of Northbridge Oval as “loving it to death”.  Unfortunately Marrickville Council appears to have neglected to ask the local residents what they think of the artificially turfed Northbridge Oval.

So here in his own words is Phillip Kanjian’s report on ‘The Northbridge Experience’. (PDF link at the bottom)

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THE NORTHBRIDGE EXPERIENCE

What Marrickville residents can expect if Arlington is converted to plastic turf.

In 2011 Willoughby Council converted the Northbridge Oval from natural to artificial turf. This led to a dramatic intensification of usage. Residents now have no respite from soccer activities as the following data shows. Bear in mind that Willoughby Council failed to disclose during the consultation period that State League football would be a future user of the new turf with enormous impact on the residents that live nearby. Residents were initially told by Willoughby Council that soccer ( local KDSA) was to be played in winter and cricket in summer . We now know this was not true.

Since Then:

Northbridge Football Club (NFC) has approximately 85% occupancy during the peak period ( weekends and non school hours ) throughout the year . 7 days a week in winter; 5 days a week in summer. ( excluding public holidays). The usage could be classified as predominately exclusive. NFC turnover is now just under a $1 million a year.

Winter Usage

Soccer season March – September Northbridge FC uses 7 days a week Monday – Friday: Local KDSA and State League training 3.30pm – 9.30pm Saturday: Local KDSA matches 8.30am – 4.30pm
Sunday: State League Games 8.30am – 4.30pm

Every second Saturday in Winter , night games until 8.00 pm Every second Friday in Winter, night games until 8.00 pm

Summer Usage

During summer months from October until March Northbridge FC use 5 days per week:

Monday – Mens football mini competition: Tuesday – Thursday: Elite and academy training Friday – Womens football mini competition

6 – 8.30pm 4 – 8.00pm 6 – 8.30pm

Soccer season ends in August however training resumes at the end of September.

State League numbers in 2011 revealed that more than 70% players live outside the Willoughby LGA. For mens competition this was 91%. Residents are still waiting for players numbers in 2012 from Willoughby Council.

When it Rains

Play and training continues regardless of rain. On wet days when the other turf ovals in the Willoughby area are closed , other players converge onto Northbridge oval to train. It is common to have up to 4 teams training on Northbridge Oval at the same time – screaming and shouting . Intensifies traffic/parking/noise problems.

Community locked out

Northbridge Oval is now operates predominately as a soccer field with the white lines permanently marked on the oval.

Community usage gone. Frequent past users including dog walkers, kite flyers, local kids kicking the ball around or, playing touch football are gone . Cricketers prefer to play on natural turf especially on hot days.

Impact on Residents:

No respite from traffic congestion, lights blazing until 9.30pm, noise from oval i.e. shouting, cheering, constant whistle blowing. Last two years has been very stressful for the residents that live nearby. Three people are thinking of selling their homes as a result of the impact .

No street parking. Willoughby Council created 9 new parking places only and are in the process of removing a bus stop ( in existence for over 40 years ) to accommodate more parking for soccer players and visitors.

Arlington Reserve must be about the community given it is on crown land for the benefit of the public not just soccer only.

Information provided by P. Kanjian, resident, Northbridge Oval Precinct.

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PK-Northbridge Experience

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