Synthetic Turf Oval proposal for Middle Head – How to submit your comment

Synthetic Turf Oval proposal for Middle Head – How to submit your comment

Mosman Council is asking for community feedback on the possibility of replacing the natural grass ovals at Middle Head and/or Georges Heights with a “synthetic playing field”, i.e. artificial turf.

(please also refer to KEY POINTS at end of this message)

Mosman Council is asking for community feedback on the possibility of replacing the natural grass ovals at Middle Head and/or Georges Heights with a “synthetic playing field”, i.e. artificial turf.

Mosman Football Club and Mosman Swans AFL requested that Council consider this. Results of this consultation will also be provided to the Harbour Trust.

HPG was named as a key stakeholder by Council. However a letter notifying us of the consultation and posted to HPG’s registered office on July 10 was not received. HPG learned of this proposal only 1 week ago. As a result Council agreed to extend the deadline 1 week to next Friday August 28.

This will be last week of a 5 week community consultation.

Both ovals are owned by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, and are leased to Mosman Council. Any Development Application submitted by Council would have to be approved by the Trust, which is the ONLY consent authority.

The size of Middle Head oval is 1.5 ha (3.75 acres) and we estimate is around 20% of the total plateau. The capital cost estimate is over $2m according to Council staff. We understand that all the topsoil would be excavated and replaced with artificial materials on which the synthetic grass would be laid.

Both ovals are available for sport and for public recreation.

There are only 6 days left to make your views known.

The consultation is not limited to Mosman residents.

Please go to Council’s online form to submit your comment, or simply post a letter.

Council has also provided an optional anonymous generalised survey. Our investigations have revealed that the technology of this option is fundamentally flawed, unreliable, and likely to provide misleading results. We have written to Council with our concerns but Council has not had an opportunity to reply. Therefore, please do not use Council’s SurveyMonkey anonymous form.

Thank you,

HPG Team

KEY POINTS

  • The Middle Head oval was constructed in 1951 by the Army as a flat staging area.
  • Use as a sporting oval commenced in the 1960s.
  • HPG acknowledges the cultural heritage of both Middle Head oval and Georges Heights oval.
  • Both ovals are used for both sport and public recreation.
  • HPG upholds sporting use of the ovals in accordance with the Trust Act’s Objects.
  • Trust land is governed ONLY by The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act, and sometimes The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, if the action is considered significant.
  • The Objects of the Act are “to protect, conserve and interpret the environmental and heritage values of Trust land” and “to maximise public access”.
  • “Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)” is “central to the Trust’s management, strategic planning, and development decision making”.
  • Trust plans recognise both ovals to be retained and enhance and available for community use.
  • HPG supports viable natural surfaces being constructed and maintained on ESD principles.
  • Accordingly, HPG is not able to support installation of synthetic playing surfaces which prima facie seem to be:
    • inconsistent with the natural environment
    • inconsistent with the Act’s Objects
    • not Ecologically Sustainable Development
  • The present natural grass oval is a habitat used by native fauna including birds.
  • HPG is not aware that a high-quality natural grass as an alternative has been considered. This would accord with Trust Act’s Objects.
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