yous all get ready for synfetic turf

Last Tuesday 11th June saw one of the most depressing Council meetings in recent Marrickville Council history, not just because our effort to remove allocation of $950 000 from Council’s 2013-2014 draft budget for artificial turf for Arlington Reserve was defeated, but also for the shameless display of mindless rhetoric and juvenile bullying any of us have ever witnessed from “elected leaders”, as well as the promise of “no increase in usage” finally revealed for the deception it always was.

Artificial turf on ArlingtonRecreation Reserve IS now a ‘done deal’, other than formalities over which citizens have little or no input.

After 3 public speakers ‘for’ and ‘against’ presented their cases, Greens Councillor Melissa Brooks proposed an amendment, seconded by Mark Gardiner (Lib), to have the $950k budget allocation redirected to childcare.  What ensued was one of the most disgusting debates in Council’s recent history.  I could say so much more, but…

Councillor Gardiner questioned Mayor Macri about the promise of “no increase in usage”.  For the first time in the 8 months this issue has been back on Council’s agenda, the Mayor ‘clarified’ that the Arlington Plan Of Management allows matches to be played up to 5:30pm on weekdays, and non-competition use (eg. training and try-outs) up to the 9:30pm lights-out curfew on weekdays, as well as the continued use on weekends from 9:30am to 9:30pm for matches.  This is the reality of intensification of use that we have been “screaming about” for months now, but which certain Councillors – Marci and Tsardoulias – have tried to reassure residents that “usage won’t increase”.  Crapmongers.

However it was all theatre – the vote was clearly known by half the Councillors to be unchanged since February 2013.  Council remains divided 6-for, 6-against, and the Mayor, Victor Macri, once again using his Casting Vote to defeat Councillor Brook’s amendment.  A majority of the Council then voted for the 2013-2014 Budget ‘as is’.  And just to rub salt into ‘wounds’, Councillor Tsardoulias in one last pointless burst of juvenile bloviation yelled out at the four Greens Councillors calling them “The No Party”, for having taken a principled stand in not voting for the draft budget.  Just charming.

What would have been amusing, if it wasn’t so depressing, was that the presentation of so many facts and considerations as to why artificial turf in this location is so inappropriate – by citizen speakers, and Councillors alike – was so convincing, that when the final vote to defeat Clr Brooks’ amendment and voting in the unmodified draft budget happened, several of our soccer friends didn’t even realise they’d ‘won’.

The Save Arlington Reserve action group is taking a breather, and considering its options.  Until then, borrowing a few choice words from one of our ‘favourite’ Councillors, “yous” all get ready for “synfetic” turf.


7 Responses to “yous all get ready for synfetic turf”

  1. acmejc Says:

    Those people are supposed to represent the community. I think they paid not 1 iota of attention to the huge number of objections. Hence there must be suspicion for hidden factors, called pork barreling in other quarters. Very suspect!

  2. B Holland Says:

    I concur with this report and how it captures the proceedings and atmosphere at Council last week. I was dismayed and shocked and embarrassed in turn that: i) a number of public submissions on synthetic turf made within deadline were not included in papers; ii) that the Mayor Vic Macri continually editorialised from the Chair about points raised in discussion, despite being reminded that it is contrary to rules, and then that iii) Cr Tsardoulias launched a stream of invective and abuse at other Councillors which continued for many minutes without restraint. This was to a packed meeting which included a group of young junior soccer players who are not likely to forget such a performance at Marrickville Council. We also learnt that there is a planned intensification of usage of Arlington in store that flags the next front.

  3. Sharyn Says:

    That Council meeting was attended by young soccer players. They witnessed the inarticulate carry on of the elected representative and the ignorance of others who have been on council for many years and still don’t know correct meeting procedure! When another councillor attempted to point this out he was ignored.
    We cannot give up as they still have a lot of ‘i’s to dot and t’s to cross’ before the synfetic is laid.

  4. Chris Says:

    Is it true that the lighting intensity at Arlington reserve will be doubled from 100 lux to 200 lux ina planned upgrade as outlinedin the Council meeting 17 September 2013? Can somone please confirm? Was there community consultation? What next – fireworks & flares?

    • savearlington Says:

      The oval lighting is being “upgraded”. The “Working Group” consisting of residents, soccer club leaders, and Council staff can be contacted for details (via Marrickville Council).

  5. Steven Says:

    As a 20 year old university student that lives in the area, I could not disagree more with your stance on the artificial turf in Arlington oval. First of all, since these facilities have been upgraded I have visited this park much more frequently to play casually with some friends. I am neither a professional player nor represent Dulwich Hill FC but I enjoy the extra motivation that I have finally have proper grounds to play in. As I have visited this park I have also noticed an increase in the use of the turf by the community primarily by young people such as myself, which are also not professionals but use it as a form of recreational activity. By the time I arrive at the park in most instances,the goal posts are already taken and this leads me to ask permission to play with these other individuals. Such contact and communication allows the creation of communal friendships and relationships in a healthy manner.

    For me, the laying of artificial turf in Arlington oval has been a great blessing.


    • savearlington Says:

      I appreciate your stance. It *is* good to see more people using the park. It came at great cost, a cost which is still rising, more than twice that which Councillors approved, a ‘budget blow out’ we all knew would happen – honesty matters. Issues however, remain, including for how much longer Arlington will remain open such as it has been since its ‘launch’ a few months ago, given that we know one of the reasons Arlington was chosen was the ease/low-cost of securing it – that is, to keep it closed & locked except when being used by paying customers, due to security/vandalism fears (google “artificial synthetic turf +fire vandalism” & you’ll see what I mean). The small number of parking spaces located in a short dead-end street in the area, in an area that’s already medium-density, makes accessing Arlington, particularly for the ‘paying customers’ who come from all over Sydney for match days, and residents & their visitors alike, a big PITA. We feel that other fields within the Marrickville LGA would have been better candidates. Whilst that might sound like NIMBYism, it’s also the facts of the matter, and Marrickville Council refused to consider any other locations for artificial conversions because the whole issue was driven by DHFC’s President. The very sad irony here is that DHFC might not even be using it (as ‘Home’) from next year, if they’re unable to afford it, if Sydney Olympic & Hurlstone Park Wanderers become more financially attractive hirers, which Council is now even more sensitive to due to the >2x budgeted cost of the park – all because 2 teams should never have been sharing 1 park as ‘Home’ to begin with.

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