Restricting access to Public Spaces

Principal Petitioner Steve York, Everton Park
Date Closed Mon, 21 Jan 2019 This epetition has ended
No. of signatures 21 signatures

(View signatures)

Residents draw to the attention of Council, the Teralba Park project to build a fenced enclosure for paid sporting groups/users only. A fence approximately 2 m high will restrict current park users from entering the space on a permanent basis. The visual impact of the facility does not seem to have been assessed. The financial viability of the facility does not seem to have been assessed. The community's health and environmental concerns do not seem to have been addressed. If Council consents to this section of park being fenced-off, what other parks around Brisbane might be fenced-off in future?

We request that the project construction be postponed until there is adequate reason why our public open space can be restricted permanently without community consultation. We request community consultation be conducted of local residents and park users before construction commences at the end of January 2019.

Council response

Mitchelton Sports Club (the Club), which is the existing tenant at Teralba Park, has obtained approval from Council to convert an existing turf football field into a synthetic football field to increase the availability of field space following wet weather and to reduce water costs associated with turf field maintenance to the Club. Prior to construction commencing, Council investigated the issues raised in the petition and is satisfied that these issues have been adequately considered at this time.

The design has been assessed by Council as landlord, including a review of the visual impact of the proposal on the park. Considering the visual impact of the fencing of the field against the potential for increased maintenance costs and value to the community, Council has supported the Club’s design. The majority of the fencing surrounding the synthetic surface will be 1.2 metres high, with the exception being behind the penalty areas at both ends of the field due to a higher likelihood for balls leaving the field in this location. Fencing of a synthetic surface is necessary to reduce the potential for organic matter from the surrounding park to be brought onto the field, resulting in increased maintenance costs.Fencing of the new synthetic field will also increase the life of the surface and reduce the maintenance costs incurred by the Club, increasing the value of the project to the Brisbane community.

Under the existing lease arrangement with Council, the Club has the right to exclusively use the facilities in accordance with the conditions of the lease. However, the President of the Club has publicly stated that while the facility will be fenced, the gates will not be locked to restrict public access.

Your research and concerns raised about potential environmental issues with synthetic sports fields have been noted. Globally, there is substantial research into the environmental and health impacts of synthetic turf, with studies showing there are limited risks associated with its use. There have also been significant advances in the technology of synthetic turf, which is now widely used across the world by a variety of elite and community sports. Council will continue to monitor the outcomes of studies and investigations into synthetic turf to ensure public safety is adequately considered and environmental impacts are mitigated.

Under the Queensland Government’s Planning Act 2016, public notification of the proposal was not required. However, prior to construction commencing, Council requested that the Club advertise the proposal on its website, place signage on the site notifying park users of the project, send a letter to local residents that may be impacted by the construction of the project, and provide communication channels through which the community could raise issues with the Club or the contractor during construction. Council is satisfied that these activities occurred. Additionally, it is understood that the project was promoted in the media on at least three separate occasions during 2018. Council will not be requesting the Club to undertake any further community consultation at this time.

It should also be noted that the implementation of synthetic sports fields on Council land is currently assessed on a case-by-case basis.