Bayside Council mayor, Joe Awada has assured residents that the use of Gardiner Park at Banksia will remain the same for the community following the proposed upgrade that will include a synthetic field.
The council approved a tender in July for construction of a synthetic field at Gardiner Park from Polytan Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.
The project will replace the existing Gardiner Park playing field with synthetic field that meets the requirements of Football NSW and FIFA Certification.
While the decision was welcomed by the football community, residents living next ot the park started a petition on community.org under the headline 'Banksia's Gardiner Park doesn't need Fake Grass' calling on Bayside to rescind its decision and talk with the community about the plans.
Residents said there were no plans on the Bayside website, no community consultation and no reports on car parking or an arborists report.
Residents said the lower side the built up synthetic field will be higher than their roofs.
The petition organisers called on the council to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement to be exhibited before the start of construction.
A group of 11 residents spoke or made written submissions to the September 9 council meeting outlining their concerns regarding the proposed upgrade of Gardiner Park, representing the concerns of more than 270 residents.
"The current use of Gardiner Park will remain the same and it will continue to be available for active and passive recreation by the whole community," Councillor Awada said this week.
"Most of Gardiner Park will still be natural turf for flora and fauna habitat as the synthetic field will take up less than half the park.
"Residents will be able to walk their dogs in the park provided they are on leash.
"Aspects of the park that have significant heritage value, like the pillars at the entrance, will be restored during the upgrade."
Cr Awada said the upgrade is part of the NSW State Government's Planned Precincts initiative for the Bayside West Precinct that includes Arncliffe, Banksia and Cooks Cove.
"The State Government reviewed the needs of each of these precincts and identified a number of improvements that could be made to existing infrastructure to better service the growing needs of the whole community," he said.
After extensive consultation on the Planned Precincts - Bayside West the State Government committed to upgrading two parks in the area. Arncliffe Park received a $4.5 million upgrade, and Gardiner Park received $2.5 million which includes the synthetic playing field.
"Council also included the proposal in a number of documents, including the latest Operational Plan 2020/21, that have been on public exhibition," he said.
"The approval process for the synthetic field is in accordance with NSW legislation and Council has met all its obligations under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act).
"A Gardiner Park fact sheet will also available from Council's website."