Arlington Oval, though the 2 Sydney Blue Gums on the left have been removed.

At the Council Meeting of 25th October 2012 Mayor Macri asked Council staff to prepare a report on the condition of the turf of Arlington Oval after a football club requested that Council install synthetic turf.

Local resident Gavin Edwards had a letter published in the Inner West Courier also on 25th October 2012  –  Shock & disbelief best describe my reaction to the news that local soccer clubs are renewing their quest to have artificial turf installed on Arlington Reserve.  Marrickville Council in 2009 overwhelmingly endorsed Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias’ motion calling for the redevelopment of Arlington Reserve with a natural grass surface, recognising that existing urban consolidation around the Reserve meant that the negative impact on the local community made it unsuitable for the more intensive use inevitably resulting from installation of synthetic turf.”

The community fought a long battle not to have Arlington Oval covered with artificial turf only 3-years ago in 2009.

The following document (1MB download) convinced me that artificial turf is not appropriate anywhere in Marrickville LGA for the following reasons –

  • It is made from petroleum products ie. recycled car tyres & frequently contains heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, chromium, copper & sulphur.
  • Making the turf produces carbon, while ordinary grass removes carbon from the atmosphere.
  • It is laid on road base so gets very hot. On a hot day artificial turf can be up to 50% hotter then natural turf, so it contributes to the urban heat island effect.  Granulated rubber is brushed into the synthetic grass after it is laid.  Playing on this sort of heat can’t be good for players.
  • It causes turf-burn sports injury.
  • It needs to be washed with a cleaning liquid to maintain shine & to disinfect from substances such as blood, spit, urine, vomit, food, beverages & animal excreta weekly during use.  This water then goes into the surrounding environment.
  • It has a life span of 10-years & then goes to landfill.
  • Any air-born weeds that take hold need to be sprayed with weed killers & the chemical stays on the artificial turf.

I think these are more than enough reasons why installing synthetic turf is not a good idea.  There is plenty more studies to show that communities have stopped using the product because of the problems associated with it.

Although I understand why many clubs want more reliable plastic surfaces, I strongly believe that Arlington Oval & other parks are multi-use facilities for the whole community, not just the sporting clubs.  I also believe that the community should not have to continually fight against issues that have been decided upon in recent years.