The Lane Cove community is fortunate to have a variety of green spaces and beautiful parklands available for community use. As the population continues to grow, there will be an increasing demand for access to public green spaces. Lane Cove Council has a critical role to play in both protecting and preserving our current green spaces, and ensuring that we continue to improve access to public green spaces right across our local government area.
We cannot allow council to attempt to save costs on maintenance by replacing natural grass surfaces with new synthetic grass – such as that proposed at Bob Campbell Oval, pictured above. Synthetic grass, or AstroTurf, is made from rubber and microplastics that break down and leach into our waterways, adding significantly to pollution concerns. Academics from Georgia State University found synthetic fields can increase the risk of infections from Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for individuals who injure themselves on the field. This poses a significant health risk for both adults and children. Alarmingly, a study from Western Sydney University also found that synthetic fields can be twice as hot as traditional grass ovals, which can increase the ambient heat for the surrounding area. As we are inevitably facing a warmer climate, we must do all in our power to limit any planning decisions that will further increase the heat in our urban spaces. Finally, synthetic turf has limited benefits for sporting communities but it will reduce the amenity of an area for families with children, or for those looking for a space to walk their dogs.
It is clear that synthetic grass is not the answer to the increasing demand for green spaces. Council need to work to ensure better maintenance of existing ovals. They should also work to provide more publicly available natural green spaces. For example, council should look into converting the Lane Cove Golf Course into a mixed purpose parkland for families, pets and sporting communities. This large area of land currently sits in council hands but is only used by a small number of paying club members. We should ensure that council land is freely accessible to all members of the Lane Cove Community.