Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Response from Justine Langford (Greens)

November 12, 2014

Justine was the first candidate to respond with answers to our questions.  Here is her reply in full & unedited:

1. The Greens believe that the decision making process around the
artificial-turfing of Arlington Reserve was extremely poor. Council
decisions should never be made in this way. The Greens on council
worked actively with residents to highlight the extremely poor way
this project was approved and to expose its true cost. We repeatedly
raised the risk of the massive cost blow-out of the project – which of
course occurred. There should have been a more thorough investigation
of the costs before the council voted. The escalating costs will
result in the oval having to be used more often which will further
impinge on the amenity of local residents.

2. The Greens support prioritising residents and not-for-profit
sporting clubs when using local fields. With the Arlington project we
were extremely concerned that the Council risked effectively
privatising the site by making a multi-million dollar update for the
primary benefit of for-profit (professional) sporting clubs. Whenever
a development proposal of sporting space occurs it is important that
all affected members of the local community are consulted regardless
of their financial clout and network of influence. When a development
of a sporting field in a densely populated area is proposed it is
critical that a thorough examination of the competing needs of all
local residents occurs and that proper environmental and social impact
studies are completed and there should be clear caveats that any
negative impacts be addressed. I believe that if elected as a Greens
councillor I have a responsibility to ensure that council activities
have positive impacts on the environment.

3. The Greens support sustainable infill development. This means
development near public transport, for example, but {within reasonable
limits} (that does not exceed the Local Environment Plan). It also
means that infrastructure needs to keep pace with development and
developers need to be charged proper fees to fund things like extra
green space needed to serve larger populations. For example The Greens
on council voted against the current LEP (Local Environment Plan)
because of concerns that the new height limits on buildings were too
high and that heritage worthy buildings were not protected. Since
these new height limits were allowed the Greens on Council have
struggled to ensure that even these height limits (are maintained) and
the often inadequate rules in the LEP are complied with. Unfortunately
the Labor and Liberal candidates on the current council are in my
view, uncritically pro-development. The Arlington Reserve is an
example of a development that exceeded a number of important
restrictions in the LEP.

4. The environmental impact of any proposed development needs to be
seriously considered by Council. The Greens believe that green space
and public amenity needs to be prioritised. Clearly the negative
environmental impacts of laying artificial turf on Arlington Reserve
were not prioritised by the non-Green Councillors when they supported
this proposal.

5. I do not believe it is appropriate for a group of councillors to
vote together in a block, especially when what they are voting on
contravenes their own party policy. I also note that binding caucus
voting is not allowed by the Local Government Act, and strongly
support that provision of the Act.

6. Councillors are elected to represent the community – so they must
be available to residents through various communication channels. I
believe councillors should be accessible via email, phone and social
media. Councillors should make judgements based on the information
provided, including Council policy and recommendations, resident views
and representations – not just on their party affiliation.

7. The Greens councillors all have Facebook accounts and their emails
and phone numbers are publicly available. Unfortunately councillors
are not very well resourced and nearly all have full time jobs outside
of Council. Councillors receive vast numbers of resident requests and
do not have access to paid staff, so some don’t reply to all
residents. If elected I would make myself available to residents and
would aim to respond to any contact within 24 hours.

8. The primary role of Councillors is to represent all residents. Any
correspondence with residents should be party-neutral. Councillors
have a responsibility to respond equally and fairly to all residents,
no matter who they voted for in the local election. If elected I would
liaise with local residents and keep them informed of any issues. The
process and decision-making that we saw around Arlington Reserve
should never again be repeated.


In the news – again. and again. and again.

June 7, 2013

The 3rd article down demonstrates the degree of duplicity, smoke-screening and bullshit that’s being used to justify Joe Pinto’s Trophy Project.

“Financially Irresponsible” – Inner City Weekender, 31/5:

Media-27-5to7-6 ICW-31-5-13 Financially Irresponsible

“Financially Irresponsible”

“No childcare, turf instead” – Valley Times, 6/6:

Media-27-5to7-6 ValleyTimes-6-6-13 No childcare, turf instead

No childcare, turf instead

“Council’s Challenging Choice” – Inner City Weekender, 7/6:

Council's Challenging Choice

Council’s Challenging Choice

In response to the question of why Marrickville Council is about to spend $1M+ on artificial turf NOW, and at the expense of letting a desperately needed childcare centre languish unconstructed for another year, Mayor Victor Macri wants to cast our mind back to the past, where a former set of Marrickville Councillors voted to build Enmore Pool instead of a childcare centre.  As if to draw attention to his own contradiction, he said “I opposed [Enmore Pool]. I will always oppose anything that goes against childcare centres”.  Does that include allocating $1M+ to Joe Pinto’s Trophy Project at the expense of a childcare centre TODAY, Vic?  Hmmm…

As for Councillor Sam Iskander, “Every time the Council agrees and has a majority vote on something, the Greens devise a tactic to combat the decision.  The Arlington Oval returfing we agreed on”.  What a gobsmacking LOAD OF BULLSHIT.  The ONLY time Marrickville Council was almost-but-not-quite unanimous regarding Arlington (thanks for your consistency there, Mayor Macri) was in 2009 when it voted 10-to-1 to RETAIN natural turf.  Ever since machinations behind closed doors brought the issue back onto Council’s agenda in October 2012, Council has been ANYTHING BUT in agreeance on Arlington Reserve – IN FACT IT’S BEEN CONSISTENTLY DIVIDED 6-FOR, 6-AGAINST since December 2012.  But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good bit of political bloviating, Sam…

PRESS RELEASE: Residents & Rate-payers raise alarm over Council’s draft budget

June 6, 2013

SYDNEY, 26 MAY 2013: Marrickville Council’s Draft Budget for 2013-2014 has met with strong opposition from both residents and rate-payers. On Monday 27 May, residents will submit more than 500 individual and signed objections to Council regarding the Draft Budget, collected from residents & rate-payers around the LGA. More objections have been submitted on-line and individually lodged with Council.

Objections relate to Council’s plans to spend more than $1 million on artificial turf at Arlington Reserve, Dulwich Hill. Council’s costings for the project are based on preliminary findings, and are expected to be much higher than the amount budgeted for.

“Council’s proposal to spend more than $1 million on artificial turf at Arlington Reserve is an inappropriate overdevelopment of a local park and sporting oval. It is too expensive and financially irresponsible,” says local resident Sandra Sullivan. “Council will not be able to generate a sufficiently high income to cover the costs of laying and maintaining artificial turf.  So the true cost, both financial and social, will be borne by residents & rate-payers for many years to come.”

Residents’ & rate-payers’ objections are echoed by six of Marrickville’s 12 Councillors: Liberal Councillor Mark Gardiner, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna, and four Greens Councillors, Melissa Brooks, Sylvie Ellsmore, David Leary and Max Phillips.

Residents will be handing submissions to Councillors Mark Gardiner, Melissa Brooks and Morris Hanna at 12.30pm on Monday 27 May. Other Councillors may be present. This will take place at Council’s Administrative Centre, 2-14 Fisher Street, Petersham. The media is invited and residents will be available for interview.


Save Arlington Reserve Group

The Save Arlington Reserve Group is a non-political group formed in 2009 by residents of Dulwich Hill, NSW. Our mission is to preserve the amenity of Arlington Reserve and to ensure this park of historical value remains accessible to all the community. Arlington Reserve has hosted many sporting events over the years including rugby league and the British Empire Games in 1938 (now known as the Commonwealth Games).


In the news

May 21, 2013



Speaking of “robust debate” (the… inaccurate term used by an Inner West Courier journalist to describe what happened at February’s general Council meeting), we were mistaken in assuming that at tonight’s general Council meeting where Clr Mark Gardiner’s 8 questions-on-notice would actually be open for at least some discussion amongst Councillors, if not opportunities to speak by members of the public as well.  Sadly mistaken, really, by assuming that the rules of local government would allow discussion of answers to important questions of material significance to a matter at hand.

Media Release (after 19-2-2013 Council meeting)

February 20, 2013


Save Arlington Reserve Committee

Council Meeting C0213 Item 2 – “Arlington Playing Field Update”

Wednesday 20th February 2013

Marrickville Council votes for artificial turf

On Tuesday night, 19th February 2013, Marrickville Council spent two hours deliberating on the issue of artificial turf for Arlington Recreation Reserve, Dulwich Hill.

Despite a promising few moments of doubt when Councillor Rosana Tyler requested a brief recess to negotiate privately with other Councillors, Council ultimately voted on the proposal raised by Mayor Victor Macri to proceed with artificial turf for Arlington.  The vote was 6-for (Councillors Haylen, Iskandar, Macri, Tsardoulias, Tyler and Woods), and 6-against (Councillors Brooks, Ellsmore, Gardiner, Hanna, Leary and Phillips).  The Chairperson, Mayor Macri, used his Casting Vote and the motion to proceed with artificial turf was carried.

The members of the committee to Save Arlington Reserve and many local residents are very disappointed in Council’s decision, and in particular the underlying disregard for its obligations under Section 36F(b) of the NSW Local Government Act which relates to community land designated for sporting activities, whereby they must ensure that such activities are managed having regard to any adverse impact on nearby residences.

Despite both Councillors and citizen speakers drawing attention to:

  • the glaring economic recklessness of the artificial turf option given the limitations of the Arlington Plan Of Management
  • the undeniable consequences upon local residents that the dramatically intensified usage that Council’s own reports insist must accompany an artificial field (later, if not sooner) due to the categorical unsuitability of the area surrounding Arlington
  • the dramatically higher hiring costs to users and the financial risk this exposes Council to if prime users are unable to maintain payment of such fees
  • the complete absence of solidly identified funding sources
  • the inferiority of artificial turf in 12 out of 14 environmental impact aspects considered in Council’s latest report

certain Council members maintained an agenda that placed all of these considerations at a lower priority to… well, perhaps you should ask them that.

The committee to Save Arlington Reserve will continue to lobby for retaining natural turf on Arlington Recreation Reserve.

Arlington – Press Release following 19-2-2013 motion to proceed with artificial turf (PDF)

Press Release

February 12, 2013

Following the success of the Informal Gathering held last Saturday, we have the following Press Release.

A PDF is available (MR-post 9-02 mtg(SM)).  Full text is as follows:


Save Arlington Reserve Committee

Community Gathering: Laxton Reserve

Saturday 9 February 2013

No Artificial Turf on Arlington Reserve


Organisers deem Saturdays Community Gathering – Laxton Reserve a success.


Spread out among the shade of the trees Councillors Mark Gardiner (Lib, North Ward), Melissa Brooks (Greens, West Ward ) and Max Phillips (Greens, Central Ward) addressed some 100 residents.  Apart from the valuable opportunity to discuss the issue with so many fellow residents, attendees were particularly encouraged by Councillor Gardiner’s vocal support for maintaining natural turf on Arlington and his appreciation of residents’ concerns.  Other West Ward Councillors Tyler (Lib) and Tsardoulias (ALP) did not attend.


Questions raised during the meeting included:

  • Why did Councillors who voted in Council for artificial turf not inform or consult with residents most affected by the decision?
  • How do Councillors regard their statutory obligations under the Local Government Act to manage sporting facilities ‘having regard to any adverse impact on nearby residences.’  (S36F (a) (b) of the Local Government Act?
  • Are these Councillors aware of the risk of water table contamination, destruction of habitat of the endangered Long Nosed Bandicoot, destruction of established tree stands caused by artificial turf and micro climatic effects of such a large plastic surface during summer?
  • Why did two of  the  three West Ward Councillors in which Arlington is located, Rosanna Tyler (Lib) and Emanuel Tsardoulias (ALP)  not respond to their invitation to attend?  In the case of Cr Tsardoulias’, given his recent fatherhood, why did no other ALP councillor attend in his stead.   (Apologies were received from Mayor Vic Macri and Councillors Morris Hanna: Ind, Sylvie Ellerson and David Leary: Greens) ?
  • What measures did Marrickville Council take to ensure that the natural turf playing surface was maintained to a satisfactory standard for the 2010-2012 soccer seasons?
  • Do these Councillors realise  that hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment will be torn up after only two years in order to spend in excess of $1 million on artificial turf for a single-use elite sports facility?

1500 Marrickville residents have now signed the Committee’s petition completely opposing artificial turf on Arlington – an indication of the ire of local residents/ratepayers.  This exceeds the number of 750 gathered when this matter was fought in 12009.


Contact:   Suzanne Marks: 0409 141 944

Sharyn Moses:   0439 421 906

For Committee to Save Arlington Reserve

Community Resolution

February 12, 2013

During Saturday’s Informal Gathering, a ‘Community Resolution’ was on display, and voted virtually unanimously by all in attendance, including the three Councillors in attendance:  Mark Gardiner (Lib), Melissa Brooks (Greens), and Max Phillips (Greens).

Here’s a PDF of the Community Resolution CGathering Resolution-9-02-4, and text in full is as follows:


This meeting of concerned residents calls on Marrickville Council to recognise and respect its legal obligations under S36F of the NSW Local Government Act:

  • to protect (a)  the environmental health of the Arlington precinct and (b)  the health and well being of its residents and users of  Arlington Reserve
  • by rejecting any proposal to convert the Reserve from natural to artificial or hybrid turf
  • To ensure that the natural turf surface is maintained to best practice standard for the benefit of all users including soccer players
  • To ensure that whenever this matter comes before Council any decision is preceded by extensive and comprehensive community consultation and research

That Council implement Clauses 11, 12 and 13 of its resolution moved by (then) Councillor Tsardoulias at its 4 December 2009 meeting to liaise with surrounding councils to identify sites suitable for artificial turf and to seek partnerships with State and Federal governments to develop it.

That Council consult with and inform its residents/ratepayers of the process and progress in this regard.


Letter to the Inner West Courier

October 25, 2012

Courier story

August 22, 2009

Click to enlarge


Arlington Reserve fake grass plan causes stir – The Inner West Courier

August 9, 2009

inner-west-courier-city07 Aug 09  by Marie Sansom  Read this article on the Inner West Courier website.

Arlington Reserve fake grass plan causes stir Protesters at Arlington Reserve. A MAJOR stoush has kicked off over synthetic grass at a Dulwich Hill reserve.

Marrickville Council recently allocated $1.3 million for synthetic grass to be laid at Arlington Reserve, so soccer can be played year-round. But some residents are incensed and want councillors to re-examine the issue.

Arlington Reserve protestThey have formed a group, Save Arlington Reserve, which will meet this Saturday at Arlington Reserve, at 11am this Saturday. Suzanne Marks, from the group, said ground use would skyrocket, with players and supporters coming every weekend and most week nights, causing more traffic, noise and disruption.

Dulwich Hill Soccer Club and Stanmore Hawks currently share the reserve for 26 weeks of the year to preserve the surface. “There’s very big community action building against it. They’re locking up the facility from the neighbourhood, except for elite soccer players,” Ms Marks said.

“People feel utterly betrayed by their local councillors with no notification and consultation with their local community.”

The need to keep the surface clean will mean dogs, walkers and children will not be able to use the ground for recreation. West ward councillor Dimitrios Thanos, initially a supporter of the project, is expected to move a motion at an August 18 council meeting asking for alternative sites to be considered.

In an email to other councillors he said: “I do recognise that the decision to identify Arlington Oval was probably a bit hasty.

“ Dulwich Hill Soccer Club secretary John Ferreira accused Greens councillors and residents who oppose the synthetic grass of being short-sighted. “They want it to be a dog park for a minority of people and to improve the value of their houses,” Mr Ferreira.

He said Football NSW intermittently banned clubs from using the ground because poor conditions made it so dangerous.

“There’s not enough sporting fields in the area, especially to play at the elite level,” he said. “We’ve got hundreds of kids who we would rather have playing soccer than running around the streets and shopping centres.”

[Editors note] The accusation by Mr Ferreira regarding the dog park is not true.  No Councillor from any political party has said they want to stop soccer being played at Arlington Reserve or that they want to turn it into a dog park.  Unfortunately, the pro-artificial turf people are spreading this lie in the community.

Read this story on the Inner West Courier’s website.