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Response from Daniel Barbar (Labor)

November 12, 2014

Daniel was the close second respondent to our questions.  His reply follows here in full and unedited:

Thank you for your questions. I understand the strong views on all sides of these discussions and I respect the different perspectives that everyone brought to the decision-making process at the time.

Although I was not on Council at the time of these discussions and the decision regarding Arlington Reserve, I understand this was a significant decision that was not taken lightly. Some of the questions you have asked are highly specific and I do not know if I can give you an informed opinion without the full information that was available to the Councillors at the time the decision was made.

Council has an important role in the community to provide facilities and services to local residents and users of council facilities.

As mentioned, this includes school students as well – in fact, I was a frequent user of Arlington Reserve when I was a student at Christian Brothers Lewisham, for sport and for play. Arlington was the local park that we would play sport in, and I remember the injuries I would sustain as a kid, because of the uneven and sub-standard playing surface.

I think Council has to work in consultation with local residents and community groups, clubs and schools in order to decide the best use of our facilities. Consultation is an important part of this process, and I know that not everyone may agree with the decisions made, but that does not mean that you discount their views and suggestions because they do not agree with you.

Planning for our community needs to be appropriate and sustainable, and development needs to be situated close to transport hubs. Affordable housing, well-planned urban renewal and environmentally sustainable development are strong Labor principles and I support them wholeheartedly.

So far, the biggest development issue raised with me by local residents in West Ward – Burraga has been the provision of appropriate parking within any new development. I understand these concerns and if elected, will work to ensure we do not clog local streets when considering these proposals.

I also recently I signed the Community Charter for Good Planning in NSW and I endorse the principles of the charter. Many of these principles relate to the matters you have raised, including:

  • The well-being of the whole community, the environment and future generations across regional, rural and urban NSW.
  • Effective and genuine public participation in strategic planning and development decisions.
  • An open, accessible, transparent and accountable, corruption-free planning system.
  • The integration of land use planning with the provision of infrastructure and the conservation of our natural, built and cultural environment.
  • Objective, evidence-based assessment of strategic planning and development proposals.

With regard to your final questions, all elected representatives should be accountable to their local communities. I understand that contact details are publicly available for all Councillors on the Council’s website (as they should be). Social media is both an innovative and challenging medium to communicate with constituents. I do not see an issue with communicating on new mediums – I guess it should be a matter of what is the most appropriate avenue for what is being raised.

Further, I understand that there are differing views in the community about many matters. You may not agree with my opinions, and I may not agree with yours, but as long as we can have a respectful conversation that is the most effective way of ensuring that any final decisions made will be for the benefit of our local communities.

I love the Marrickville area – it’s the place where I was born and where I have lived my whole life – and I think that working together is the way that we can make it even better.


Daniel Barbar

Labor Candidate, West Ward – Burraga


4 Candidates, 8 Questions, only 2 Replied. You decide.

November 12, 2014

Due to the untimely death of Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias, this Saturday 15th all West Ward residents are required to vote in a by-election to elect a new candidate to the vacated Council seat.  Although Arlington Recreation Reserve has now been artificially turfed and the issue now largely a historical one, the “experience” left several lingering questions in the minds of both organisers & local residents alike, including the 1500+ people who signed our petition in 2012-2013, and the several dozen who gave written submissions in response to Council’s report on options for Arlington.

In short, the events that transpired during our efforts left significant questions about governance, the rational selection of a site suitable for conversion vs the “emotions” of the home teams involved, Council finance policy in the obvious face of project budget uncertainty, community consultation, and what priority, if any, is given to the environmental considerations in any project presented to Council.
The Candidates:
So we came up with a few questions and sent them to all 4 candidates running for this seat.  Those candidates are:
Daniel Barbar (Labor)
Jim Salem (Australia First Party)
George Andrade (Liberal)
Justine Langford (Greens)
(this is the order selected by the Aust. Electoral Commission, as they will be on your printed voting slips on Saturday)

Only 2 of those candidates have responded – Justine Langford (Greens) and Daniel Barbar (Labor) – and their replies will be posted in the next couple of posts to this blog.  We urge you to read them carefully, as we think they provide a decent insight into the mindset of these 2 candidates.

In short, one candidate answered the questions as we presented them, and one did not.  We will leave you to evaluate for yourself the reasoning given by the candidate who did not, and whether there was a reasonable expectation that they could have engaged in the non-issue-specific nature of most of the questions as we posed them.

As for George Andrade (Liberal), we have gone to significant lengths to obtain contact details for him, but he has not made himself contactable, nor replied to two emails (one containing the questions) we believe would have been received by him.  It is unfortunate that Mr Andrade, despite what is likely to be a strong allegiance to the soccer fraternity, decided not to address the broader issues that go far beyond the ‘seed’ Arlington issue. (And in case you’re wondering, Question 8 came about due to the behaviour of Councillor Rosana Tyler (also Liberal).)

And Jim Saleam (Australia First Party), well, we’ll leave you to google him yourself.  Mr Saleam also chose not to reply to any of our questions.

Here’s the 8 questions sent to all 4 candidates.  In following posts will be their replies.

1- Council’s proposal to artificially turf Arlington Reserve, as voted, placed the project cost estimate at $950k.  The Save Arlington Reserve group vociferously drew Council’s attention to a wide range of cost items that hadn’t been itemised, or even mentioned, that risked the project’s budget “blowing out” during its construction period.  Council proceeded regardless (but as always on this issue in 2012-2013, only by virtue of the Mayor’s casting vote resolving an otherwise evenly split Council).  Unfortunately this is indeed what happened – $2.3M, and counting.  Do you think this is an acceptable manner for Council to make decisions on expensive infrastructure projects?
2- What is your prioritisation of the needs of sporting clubs (whose members may or may not be local LGA residents), and the needs of local residents, when it comes to (re)development?  Or when it comes to cost of access/use?  What of local schools, some of them desperately needing green space for a variety of activities, but being unable to afford it?
3- In areas that are already “medium density” or higher, where nearby parks are already serving a higher density of population than other less dense areas, &/or in areas not well served by associated infrastructure (like parking & easy traffic flow) do you think it’s appropriate to approve (re)development projects that place even further pressure on these resources, or indeed effectively remove access to them by the broader community, in preference to higher paying consumers?
4- In Marrickville Council’s report to Council in early 2013, it itemised 16 criteria for environmental impact consideration of the Arlington proposal.  The artificial turf option had worse environmental impact in 14 of those 16 criterial (compared to retaining natural turf), and yet Council voted to proceed with the artificial turfing proposal with absolutely no response or plan to address these impacts.  How highly do you priorities the environmental impact of Council’s decisions & activities?
5- Do you think it is appropriate for a group of Councillors consisting of more than one party affiliation to vote together in order to block the motions of a third Party, even when the motion may indeed be within the stated party policies of one or the other blocking party?  Do you think this constitutes anti-democratic behaviour?
6- Do you think all candidates for public office in Marrickville Council should make themselves available to their potential constituents via published phone &/or email contact details &/or a social media presence that foresters public communication with the community, or do you think it’s reasonable that constituents make their determination based solely on the candidate’s party or political affiliation?
7- Once elected, do you think it is reasonable for constituents to be able to access their elected representatives via social media, such as Facebook?
8- When a community member wishes to engage with an elected Councillor on any given topic, even privately, do you think it’s reasonable for that Councillor to ask who that community member voted for, and then decline contact/communication because the community member did not vote for that Councillor?

—————–  END  —————–

West Ward By-election

November 10, 2014

West Ward By-Election is being held on Saturday 15th November

When casting your vote remember Council’s Liberal / Labor alliance to lay artificial turf on Arlington Reserve.

The cost has blown out to over $2 million and they still need to buy machinery to maintain the surface.

Prior to the last council election Clr Tsardoulias published a flyer saying he would not support artificial turf on Arlington Reserve if elected. At the first meeting of the new council he then voted with the rest of the Labor councillors to lay artificial turf on Arlington Reserve.

Promises broken:

  • Insufficient parking – Parking has always been an issue and council has done nothing to address this. With the opening of the light rail parking spaces have actually been removed!
  • Increased team usage – Summer competitions and trials for Sydney Olympic FC are being held. This means that the field can be hired, by those who can afford it, 7 days a week and evenings. Could this mean an evening mid week competition during the summer months?
  • Community usage decreased – Local schools and other community groups cannot afford the fees to use the field.

Let’s not be fooled again!

Ask the candidates where they stand on the usage of the field and the effect that has on the local community.

yous all get ready for synfetic turf

June 19, 2013

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.

48 hours ’till Council votes on the 2013-2014 Draft Budget

June 9, 2013

In 48 hours, Marrickville Council assembles to discuss and vote on the 2013-2014 Draft Budgets.

Marrickville Council

Level 3

2-14 Fisher Street


Council meeting starts at 6:30 PM.

We will be there.   Will you?  We’d love to have your support!

BTW, so will DHFC’s Under-16 & Under-18 teams, for whom training has been cancelled & instead directed to attend the Council meeting.  Seems Joe Pinto thinks taking up all the seats of the public gallery in the Council Chamber with teenagers will have a tangible impact on the democratic process.  lol  on ya, Joe…

Democracy in action

June 7, 2013

In spite of the elements last Monday 27/5, seven members of the Save Arlington Reserve action group handed over 685 paper submission letters to Marrickville Council.  Also in attendance were Councillors Mark Gardiner (Liberal) and Melissa Brooks (Greens), and an apology from Morris Hanna (Independent) who wasn’t able to attend.

We are very grateful to Alice Kennedy for her photographic record of the event.  Here’s a select few photos.

SAR members are greeted on the steps of Marrckville Council by Councillors Brooks and Gardiner

SAR members are greeted on the steps of Marrckville Council by Councillors Brooks and Gardiner

685 budget submission letters are symbolically accepted by Councillors Brooks & Gardiner.

SAR member Sharyn Moses officially presents 685 budget submission letters to Council staff

SAR member Sharyn Moses officially presents 685 budget submission letters to Council staff





The final count-down…

June 6, 2013

Last Monday 27th, seven members of the Save Arlington Reserve Action Group handed over 685 paper submission letters to Marrickville Council.  Also in attendance were Councillors Mark Gardiner (Liberal) and Melissa Brooks (Greens), and an apology from Morris Hanna (Independent) who wasn’t able to attend.

According to figures published today in Marrickville Council’s business papers for the next Council meeting (THIS TUESDAY NIGHT, Tuesday 11th, 6:30 pm!), a total of 750 submissions rejecting artificial turf on Arlington Reserve have been received by the 27/5 closing date.

Of the approximately 70 unique ‘non form-letter’ submissions made regarding Council’s 2013/14 budget, all but 5 were regarding Arlington, and all but 5 of those were against artificial turf.

This is in stark contrast to the pro-artificial turf lobby who submitted 123 petitions and only 12% of them residing in the Marrickville LGA, and 5 ‘unique’ submissions.

At the April 2013 General Council meeting, the normally calm, rational, and mild mannered Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias flew into an inconsolable, incoherent, spitting rage at the motion by Councillor Melissa Brooks to have the Arlington resurfacing item struck off the budget, asserting that she represented ‘a few noisy residents’ (not an exact quote, but close enough, as for reasons that defy obvious understanding and democracy, citizens are not allowed to record the proceedings of the public meetings of their elected representatives).

There’s a few important and fundamental points to get right here:

  • Councillor Mark Gardiner (Liberal), a representative of a different ward, has taken a principled stand against the artificial turf proposal “just because it’s wrong!” (and that is a quote), as has Councillor Morris Hanna (Independent), alongside four Greens Councillors.
  • Councillor Melissa Brooks (Greens), who also represents West Ward residents alongside Councillor Tsardoulias (and Councillor Tyler), is a democratically elected member of Marrickville Council, and does not deserve such disrespect from Councillor Tsardoulias.
  • The members of the Save Arlington Reserve Action Group are decidedly non-political.  We wish the issue were not politicised, but when Marrickville Labor keeps back-flipping on this issue (once in 2009 from a pro-artificial to anti-artificial stance, then back to a pro-artificial stance in 2012, & remain resolutely uncommunicative on the issue besides the bullshit arguments we’ve already debunked in previous posts), you know there’s something political going on – as quite distinct from “getting the basics right”.
  • 1503 people, mostly Marrickville LGA residents, signed a petition in December 2012 saying No to artificial turf on Arlington.
  • 685 people, 82% of them Marrickville LGA residents, PUT THEIR SIGNATURE TO A BUDGET SUBMISSION LETTER – NOT JUST A LINE ON A PETITION saying No to the allocations of funds for artificial turf on Arlington.
  • 60 people wrote their own letter to Council making the same objection in their own words.

Thank you Councillor Tsardoulias, but “we” are not a ‘noisy few residents’, as we’ve demonstrated in black and white. Again.

We can’t wait to see what bullshit arguments certain Councillors put up next week to ‘justify’ their continued stance of allocating $1M+ to Joe Pinto’s Trophy Project, at the expense of childcare (2000 children in Marrickville & Dulwich Hill on waiting lists), or the stalled new library, or the replacement of ten toilet blocks on other green spaces that will be knocked down next year but not replaced.


Seriously, why isn’t Marrickville Council thinking of the children?

May 26, 2013

Marrickville Greens have put questions-on-notice to Council recently, and the answers don’t stack up.  How can Council justify $1M+ for a Trophy Project, but delay desperately needed funds for childcare centres in baby-booming Marrickville & Dulwich Hill yet another year when there’s TWO THOUSAND children on waiting lists for early childhood care centres?

Meanwhile, Leichardt Council found $4M for 2 childcare centres, and the City Of Sydney Council found $55M.

In what way, exactly, is this “getting the basics right”, as Marrickville Labor’s slogan would have us believe?

Have a read:

We’re hopping mad at Council’s… skewed priorities.  How about you?  Have you made a submission on Council’s draft budget?  It only takes a few minutes… and you’ve got 24 hours left to be heard.


LAST CHANCE for Arlington Reserve

May 25, 2013

The deadline to “HAVE YOUR SAY” to Marrickville Council and object to the inclusion of funds to artificial turf Arlington Reserve in the 2013/14 draft budget is just 2 days away!  Please click the link, which will take you to Marrickville Council’s website page for public comment submissions.

Have you sent your submission yet?

We have a letter which we welcome you to use (see quoted text and attachment below), but we strongly encourage you to write your own (feel free to use ours for pointers :), as Councillors value a diversity of correspondence, not just quantity.

This mail-to link will pre-fill your email with our submission.  Add to the To: field if you want all 12 Councillors to receive it too.

You must make your submission by 5pm, Monday 27th May!

Please forward this email to all the people you know in Marrickville LGA and encourage them to “Have Their Say”.

Thanks for your support!

Our suggested Draft Budget Submission Letter follows, or click this link for the PDF: Draft Budget Submission (10May)


Dear General Manager

I write to you in connection with Marrickville Council’s draft budget for 2013/14. I have a number of concerns about the Capital Budget proposals, specifically in relation to Section 4720 Landscape Design & Project Management items 70427043 and 7079, Amenity Upgrade and Installation of Synthetic Turf at Arlington Reserve, Dulwich Hill.

I have summarised my concerns and objections to these items which are not in the interest of Marrickville’s rate payers:


A high percentage of rate payers’ funds are being spent on one recreational facility, representing 31% of the landscape and design budget for the entire Marrickville LGA, and is a disproportionate amount of funds to be allocated for one park!

  • Proposed expenditure in the draft budget for Arlington Reserve is $1.055 million

2013/14 $950,000 artificial turf, $80,000 Kiosk and $ 25,000 change rooms

  • Arlington Reserve has already had major funds allocated from 2009 to 2013, totalling $1,435,172:

2009/10  $264,000 clubhouse, $34,910 Synthetic Surface Feasibility Study $19,642 consultant’s fees

2010 /11 $272,214 Natural turf works and irrigation

2011/12 $234,000 Sportsground, $200,000 Enhanced Upgrade

2012/13 $219,406 Sportsground improvements, $191,000 Enhanced Upgrade

Lack of transparency

Costs referred to in Councils report, (Arlington Reserve Playing Field Upgrade, file ref: 12/SF468/84658.12, 19 Feb 2013) have not been itemised in the draft budget and as such do not provide transparency over the true cost to rate payers.

  • The $950,000 does not cover the capital cost of synthetic turf.
  • Although mentioned in the report soil testing, removal of soil, drainage works, paving to reduce mud-tracking, soil and drainage modification, fencing and lighting improvements, site investigations, traffic/parking management plans have not been considered.
  • Projected on-going costs:

$47,000 Specialist Grooming Machine 

$10,000 FIFA Accreditation every 3 years

$500,000 artificial turf replacement every 8-10 yrs & Council’s acknowledged escalating “high disposal cost”


No clarification has been provided for the funding of this development. 

  • Council will need to borrow $2.45 million in financial year 2013/14 for capital expenditure.
  • What is the cost to rate payers from this borrowing in principal plus interest? 
  • Will this require additional borrowing, or a reduction in funding for basic services?

In conclusion, I do not approve of and request the removal of items 7042, 7043 and 7079 from the Capital Budget.

Yours sincerely,


What the FIFA?!?

May 20, 2013

Amongst the items mentioned in Council’s February report on Arlington is $10,000 every 3 years for FIFA 1-Star Accreditation of the new surface. Marrickville Council flagging it as a cost is surprising.

At TOMORROW NIGHT’S Council meeting, you’ll hear 8 questions-on-notice from Councillor Mark Gardiner answered by Council, among them: “Please advise why Council would assume costs of accreditation to FIFA 1 Star of an artificial surface at Arlington”.

Council’s answer raises even more questions:

“FIFA standards provide two levels of playing surface certification. FIFA 1 Star is intended for community and municipal use generally at club level whilst FIFA 2 Star accreditation is intended for professional level. Specifying FIFA 1 Star, at least at the initial construction phase, is considered essential to ensure an acceptable quality of workmanship, surface quality and durability is delivered by the contractor suitable for intended use. “

I draw your attention to FIFA’s document on their accreditation scheme (fqc_football_turf_folder_342 PDF):  1-Star accreditation is intended for “National Training & Matchplay, Municipality”, in other words, not just ‘local’ municipal level matches, but state and national grade matches.  The interesting bit is what 2-Star accreditation (which costs even more) is for: it’s a much newer standard that acknowledges “player’s feedback, medical research, test results and information from the industry since the implementation [of the 1-Star accreditation] in 2001”, given the  increased performance of modern artificial surfaces (e.g.. “4th generation”) that come closer to approximating “the perfect natural grass pitch model” (so, real grass is better after all, eh?), and is intended for “Top clubs, Stadia, International Matchplay”.

Here’s the rub:

  1. Council have under-stated what 1-Star accreditation is intended for
  2. FIFA 1-Star accreditation appears to not adequately measure the greater * medical research * and more accurate playability of modern (‘4th generation’?) artificial turf
  3. Council has included $10,000 every 3 years for this 1-Star accreditation at the same time that certain Councillors have promised that “usage of Arlington won’t increase” – that is, Arlington will remain used by DHFC & SHFC only – which is all the surrounding facilities of parking and traffic and noise-impact can accommodate.

If you want a new artificial surface installed to FIFA 1-Star specifications, fine, specify that in your tender documents – but why bother paying for the piece of FIFA-paper when (a) it doesn’t really mean anything IN THIS DECADE, and (b) it’s not required for Arlington’s current, future-promised, and practical level of usage?

Lets ignore the apparent meaninglessness of FIFA 1-Star accreditation nowadays – if that’s what the industry wants to be fleeced for, so be it.

Does Council’s pursuit of FIFA 1-Star accreditation signal an intention, or simply leave open the possible use of Arlington for state level matches, regardless of the impact on local residents – which is exactly what happened at Northbridge ?