Ku-ring-gai Council is soon to decide whether to install synthetic turf at Mimosa Oval in Turramurra.
Click here for our submission to council and here for our report on Mimosa Oval's geological and physical setting and flora.
STEP is opposed to the use of synthetic turf for a number of environmental reasons. These are accentuated by the location of Mimosa Park being surrounded by bushland, most of which is a biobanking site. These reasons include:
- During heavy rain additional water run-off is generated because the synthetic surface does not absorb water.
- Chemicals may leach from the synthetic turf and the breakdown of the plastics and rubber may pollute surrounding areas.
- Natural grass acts as a carbon sink but requires mowing and fertilizer use. On the other hand, synthetic turf is made from petrochemical materials, so the manufacturing process involves energy use.
- Synthetic turf requires ongoing cleaning and has a limited life so will need to be disposed of and replaced after 8 to 10 years depending on the level of use.
- Synthetic turf has a significantly higher surface temperature than natural grass making it impossible to use the field in hot weather, even only as high as 30°C.
- The synthetic turf surface will lead to compaction of the soil underneath and the loss of the microorganisms and insects that normally live in grassed areas.
- Natural grass fields provide a food source for birds such as magpies, lapwings and cockatoos. The reduction in foraging areas for these birds will have impacts further up the food chain. Top predators, such as the Powerful Owl, will lose a foraging opportunity.
Apart from the environmental issues the installation of synthetic turf at Mimosa is being opposed strongly by the local community that will lose use of the oval as a general recreation area. Its current use for cricket will not be possible. Kissing Point Cricket Club will have to find another venue for its matches. If natural grass is maintained soccer can still be played in the winter as well as cricket.
Mimosa Oval is part of Rofe Park that was gifted by the Rofe family:
Upon trust for the public as a public park and reserve for the preservation of natural fauna and flora.
The proposed use solely as a soccer field will mean it will no longer be a public park.
Council originally considered installing synthetic turf at Norman Griffiths Oval. From the soccer club’s point of view this has the major advantage that the field would be right next to their clubhouse. It appears that Norman Griffiths will still be used for soccer matches as there is a shortage of suitable fields.
Norman Griffiths Oval was rejected on the grounds of difficulty and expense of the works needed to control heavy rain run-off. The Mimosa plan will save about $1 million. Council now proposes to use the money saved to upgrade Norman Griffiths as well as installing the synthetic turf at Mimosa. It is not clear if the upgrade plan includes the installation of better fencing around the Norman Griffiths Oval to prevent people shimmying down the slopes around the oval. This work is essential in any case because these areas contain a special range of plants including orchids.
To cater for the cricketers who used to play at Mimosa Oval, council is proposing to install a concrete cricket pitch at Norman Griffiths. It is not clear what effect this will have on its use as a soccer field.