In the Press

Articles on Arlington Reserve in the press (2012/2013):

Article in IWC-14-2-13

Article in IWC-14-2-13

Gavin Edward's letter as published in IWC

Gavin Edward’s letter as published in IWC

Gavin Edward’s letter to IWC

Articles on Arlington Reserve in the press (2009):

Click article to englarge


Turf war continues, call in the reserves

Read this article on the InnerWest Courier website. inner-west-courier-city

MARRICKVILLE Council has hastily convened a community meeting this Sunday to discuss the future of Arlington Reserve.

The council’s budget includes $1.3 million to lay synthetic turf and complete other works on the Dulwich Hill site.

A residents’ meeting attended by 150 people on Saturday gave locals a chance to air their grievances at what some see as a lack of community consultation, and voice their concern about the reserve’s future.

West ward Labor councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias, who is in favour of the new turf, said the debate was hijacked by some residents spreading misinformation.

“Some of these people are misleading the local community,” he said. “When I got up and gave them the facts they said: why are we here? There is no plan to lock [the reserve] up at all; the plan of management wouldn’t allow it.”

He said fears of round-the-clock use were exaggerated, although the council’s draft improvement plan for the site says soccer could be played up to 9.30pm all week.

Cr Tsardoulias said Arlington Reserve had been neglected for the past eight years.

“No one can use it because they will snap their legs or crack their ankles. Synthetic is a much better playing surface: safe and durable.”

West ward Greens councillor Marika Kontellis said it was a governance issue.

“How do decisions like this, that absolutely will have an impact on residents, get made?” she asked.

Money spent resurfacing and maintaining the new turf, which she said would need a $825,000 loan, would be directed to elite soccer clubs: the only ones able to afford to play and train there, she said.

Cr Kontellis backed resurfacing the pitch with natural grass and keeping the ground mixed-use.

Labor Mayor Sam Iskandar said the normal consultation process had been followed.

Councillors had known of the plans since last year, he said.

“If councillors had concerns, they should have gone and told residents and lobbied to support or object,” Cr Iskandar said.

The consultation will be at Arlington Reserve this Sunday from 9am to noon.

Points for and against

In favour

Four Labor councillors, two independents, soccer clubs, schools. They argue:

The new surface is desperately needed for sports clubs and schools.

A reduced use fee could be offered to schools and smaller clubs.

Public access will be maintained when games and training aren’t on.

No decision has been made on whether to lock up the reserve.

It will not be used seven days a week.

A traffic management plan will be drawn up.

The council followed the usual consultation process, which began in December and will last until September 5 (see council website).

There are no health risks to having synthetic turf.

Labor councillors have played down the loan needed to fund the upgrade but council officers have confirmed it will be $825,000.


Five Greens councillors, Save Arlington Reserve community group. They say:

There has been no community consultation.

Use of the ground by soccer clubs will quadruple.

Smaller clubs and schools will not be able to afford increased fees.

Public access will be restricted.

The ground will end up being locked to protect it.

The surface may have health risks and natural grass is preferable.

About $825,000 in loans will be needed.


One independent councillor, who wants to look at other sites, as well as Arlington Reserve, for synthetic grass.

Special opinon page for Arlington Reserve debate:

Arlington debate Courier


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Something funny is afoot, and not everyone is laughing

Stirring up the mud ... John Sotiropoulos prepares to kick as coach Soteris Mavrou and Jacob Lanzafame of the Stanmore Hawks under 14s soccer team look on during practice at Arlington.Stirring up the mud … John Sotiropoulos prepares to kick as coach Soteris Mavrou and Jacob Lanzafame of the Stanmore Hawks under 14s soccer team look on during practice at Arlington. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Paul Bibby Urban Affairs Reporter

July 8, 2009

OVER nearly a century Arlington Oval at Dulwich Hill has hosted many sports events, including rugby league and the Empire Games in 1938. Now a most modern phenomenon is about to take to the field: synthetic grass.

The grand old ground will become the first council football field in Sydney to be resurfaced with synthetic grass, as the local council tries to deal with a chronic shortage of usable sporting fields in the region.

Made from hundreds of tonnes of shredded tyres covered by a synthetic green carpet, the turf provides an even, all-weather surface that can survive the daily stampede of football studs.

The move is a win for local sporting teams which have been forced to travel across the city to play and train to avoid turning Arlington into a quagmire.

But the plan has drawn criticism from some residents and councillors who say the artificial surface is overpriced, may leach toxins into the air and soil, and will diminish Arlington’s proud history.

The council will need a loan to pay the $850,000 installation cost, $17,000 a year in maintenance, and $420,000 for resurfacing every seven to 10 years.

Football NSW says the surface would have to be used 36 hours a week to be better value than natural turf.

A Greens councillor on Marrickville council, Cathy Peters, said: “It’s a big outlay at a time when this council is very short on funds and when questions remain about the health impacts. There are concerns that the rubber may leach unsafe chemicals and that foreign objects such as animal faeces and bodily fluids will contaminate the surface.”

Locals are upset at the effect on the character of the ground, which has a heritage listed grandstand and dressing sheds.

“Not only will it dramatically reduce the heritage character of the oval but it will make it completely inaccessible to local residents,” Cr Peters said.

“People who just want to have a kick, walk the dog, or run around – they will not be able to use that oval. It’s taking over the oval for the exclusive use sporting teams.”

Despite the controversy, Football NSW says artificial turf is the way of the future across Sydney.

It has been installed across Melbourne and Football NSW will include at least two synthetic fields in its new Riverstone West sporting complex.

The manager of the new complex, Tim Geldhill, said: “It is a potential solution to the sporting field shortage experienced by many councils in recent years. The surface may be a little bit different to playing on natural turf, but it’s perfectly flat and plays the same in all weather conditions.”

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

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.

Park Users are Outraged – Cooks River Valley Times



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