Time Running Out – Save Middle Head Oval

Time Running Out – Save Middle Head Oval

SAVE MIDDLE HEAD OVAL FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS

As you are probably aware, Mosman Council, at the behest of sporting bodies namely Mosman Swans (AFL) and Mosman Football Club (Soccer), has been considering for nearly 2 years the construction of a synthetic playing field on spectacular Middle Head Oval.

On March 8, 2016, Council, with the exception of Councillors Bendall and Corrigan, resolved to “supports installation of a synthetic grass field at Middle Head Oval” and “request the (SHFT) to accept a Development Application (DA)…and, if agreed, an application be …lodged”.

The Oval is presently a natural grass oval used for general recreational and also for sport. It is NOT a dedicated playing field and is not indicated as such in any Harbour Trust plan.

We estimate this MASSIVE construction might require removal of an estimated 10,000 or more cubic metres of topsoil, vegetation and subsoil (hundreds of dump-trucks) over the 1.5 hectares (the size of the oval,) and replacement with a non-living, artificial construction containing rubber topped off by a carpet of plastic grass.

… all on public parkland which was dedicated to ALL the people of Australia.

Mosman Council is now on the brink of approaching the Trust to request permission  to submit a DA to allow this to happen.

As a MATTER OF URGENCY we ask you to write demanding that MIDDLE HEAD OVALbe kept in its natural state and that the Harbour Trust refuse to invite a DA from Mosman Council.

Please try to write to the Harbour Trust and Mosman Council before Friday March 3,when there is a Trust Board Meeting.

Please also copy your letter to relevant state and federal politicians.

Yours in support of public land.

HPG Team

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HPG strongly objects for the following reasons and has sought legal advice:

  1. May compromise the reservation of Middle Head as a national park as part of the Sydney Harbour National Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1979 (NSW) contrary to the Commonwealth Parliament’s express intentions for Middle Head.
  2. Is likely inconsistent with the Objects of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001 (Cth) and the Comprehensive Plan.
  3. Is inconsistent with the statutory Middle Head Plan of Management.
  4. Would likely require referral to the Commonwealth Environment Minister under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act).
  5. The vision of the Trust is ‘To provide a lasting legacy for the people of Australia by helping to create one of the finest foreshore parks in the world and provide places that will greatly enrich the cultural life of the city and the nation.’’
  6. The Open Day feedback to Trust makes no mention of any preference for sporting activities, none sufficient to be reported. Instead, of more than 800 persons surveyed 97% prioritise public open space, and key concerns include maintenance of environmental sustainability 94%, parking impacts 89%, and traffic impacts 84%.
  7. No evidence has been provided that synthetic turf is not detrimental to the health of player or the public generally.  Many countries are removing synthetic turf playing fields for this reason.  Three US Federal agencies are investigating health and safety issues.
  8. Even the Mosman Football Club says “We agree that the ideal surface for players and non-players alike is a natural turf oval … “, but that it is not possible to maintain it….to provide the capacity needed. Their purpose is to increase and maximise football playing hours. It is public knowledge that football, AFL and rugby are working to expand their player and supporter numbers. The codes have a business model to build loyalty from childhood.

 

Originally broadcast to members on 28 February 2017.

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