Posts Tagged ‘bullshit’

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.

 

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Somebody, please! Think of the children!

May 18, 2013

At the Council meeting last 19th February, this was the shameful mantra implied to justify Council’s evenly divided vote (6-for, 6-against) for artificial turf on Arlington Reserve – childhood obesity.  Council wheeled in “professional experts” to lecture us so.

We’re all for strategies and proven solutions for tackling that problem.  What is shameful and deceptive of the pro-artificial turf lobby is their suggestion and linking of the two as having any impact on the issue of childhood obesity.

Arlington Reserve is already the most expensive field to hire in the entire Marrickville LGA – about 30% more than all the others.  Why?  It’s a good question…  What we DO know for sure – because Council wrote so – is that Arlington is “unique” in the entire Marrickville LGA by being ‘Home’ to TWO soccer clubs, despite the recommendation of Football NSW.  So Arlington’s surface suffers accordingly as the winter season progresses.  Perhaps Council has raised the casual hiring rate to dissuade non-soccer users, so as to preserve Arlington’s over-stretched capacity for the almost exclusive use of soccer clubs?

This isn’t a wild accusation, it’s a genuine question – why is Arlington so much more expensive than all the other LGA fields?  We know of at least two situations where this is detrimentally affecting “equitable access”.  One is a nearby school who wanted to hold their annual sports carnival on Arlington last year, but were quoted a hiring cost they just couldn’t afford.  That is NOW – with natural turf.  We know of another school who regularly bring children to another nearby park for casual play, because they’re flat out refused permission to use Arlington, for free or for a fee (which they’d never be able to afford on a weekly basis).  And lets not even get into the bizarre logic of one government-funded facility charging another government-funded entity for access to it’s local community’s facilities…  parents pay school fees, and a subset of them pay soccer club membership fees, but only soccer is allowed onto Arlington.  Let us repeat – this is the situation NOW, with natural turf.  Despite the rhetoric you might’ve heard, it doesn’t get better with artificial turf.

Council have stated openly that for artificial turf to be economically viable, either hiring fees need to rise dramatically, or the hours-of-use need to rise dramatically, which is an economic rationalists way of saying ‘both need to rise as much as possible’.  BUT WAIT!  Certain Councillors have also promised “usage of Arlington won’t increase”!  Despite there being nothing written anywhere to back up that ‘promise’, it suggests that the cost to hire Arlington must increase dramatically, for soccer clubs and casual hirers alike.

DHFC & SHFC already field a wide age range of children’s teams.  We see them every Saturday or Sunday morning.  It’s a joy to see.

But will they, or their club collectively, still be able to afford an artificially turfed field’s hiring cost?  And don’t forget, there’s an extra different set of football boots need to be put on young rapidly growing feet to play on artificial turf.

Must one only play soccer to conform with the pro-artificial turf lobby’s idea of how to tackle childhood obesity?  Because artificial turf also LIMITS the range of sports that can be played on the field, even for those who might be able to afford it.  It. Makes. No. Sense.

So can someone please tell us, how does the huge capital cost, and a massively increased hiring cost, of an artificially turfed Arlington Reserve help tackle childhood obesity?  It doesn’t.  It was a shameful ploy to justify an ulterior agenda pushed through a divided Council.