Bayside's moratorium on new synthetic sports fields

Bayside will not approve any additional synthetic sports fields that incorporate crumbed rubber infill material until NSW Planning has completed an investigation into sustainable alternatives to synthetic grass.
Bayside will not approve any additional synthetic sports fields that incorporate crumbed rubber infill material until NSW Planning has completed an investigation into sustainable alternatives to synthetic grass.

Bayside Council has placed a moratorium on approving the construction of any additional synthetic sports fields in the local government area that incorporate crumbed rubber infill material.

This will be until the NSW Minister for Planning has completed the investigation into sustainable alternatives to synthetic grass.

The council noted, for clarity, additional sports fields are additional to those already constructed or those where construction has commenced.

The call for a moratorium follows a motion put forward by Councillor Liz Barlow and deputy mayor James Macdonald.

Several residents spoke against the motion as they felt it did not go far enough.

Resident Greta Werner said there were health and climate concerns related to synthetic grass.

"There are no Australian Standards for synthetic turf fields, " she said. "I'd like to suggest that Bayside Council puts a moratorium on synthetic fields until Australian standards for synthetic turf have been developed."

Garnet Brownbill said there was insufficient data available on crumbed rubber infill.

He asked councilors whether they can guarantee that there are no long-term detrimental effects or illness to humans or the environment from the installation of synthetic fields throughout the LGA.

Catriona Carver said all synthetic fields are unsuitable and not just those with crumbed rubber.

"There are six synthetic soccer fields in this LGA, either completed or under construction," she said.

"These fields are all within three kilometres. There is no other council area in Sydney more populated with synthetic fields. Is this an achievement or a mistake that will cost ratepayers when their top course needs replacement in six, eight or 10 years time at a cost of a million dollars each. We need to stop building synthetic fields in Bayside."

Deputy mayor James Macdonald the issue came up following a presentation to the counci's Sport and Recreation Committee about the safety of synthetics.

"So we took that on board and thought let's have a moratorium on any new synthetic sporting fields until we get more information," he said.

"You talk to the governing bodies that use the fields and they say they had no issues.

"At the moment I am comfortable to have a moratorium until we get more information."

Councillor Andrew Tsounis said Lane Cove and North Sydney Councils have raised concerns on the issue.

"Let's be satisfied that as a council we are doing the right thing," he said.

"Our obligation is to our community to make sure we are not delivering something that has health issues surrounding it. We need to listen to what experts say. This is a starting point."

The motion that council places a moratorium on approving the construction of any additional synthetic sports fields pending the outcome of Planning NSW's investigation was unanimously supported by councillors.