• Bayside Beacon
  • Posts
  • Gardiner Park usage sparks debate at Bayside Council meeting

Gardiner Park usage sparks debate at Bayside Council meeting

Gardiner Park overuse claims are disputed by local sporting groups

At this week’s meeting of Bayside Council on Wednesday, tensions came to a head between residents and soccer clubs over the use of Gardiner Park in Banksia.

The residents submitted a petition with 332 signatures to council, requesting that the park not be commercialised. Residents claim that the noise, night lights, and increased traffic from the use by sports clubs were impacting those who live adjacent to the park.

Banksia Tigers and St George Football Association, who are non-profit organisations, disputed the claims of commercialisation and overuse of the park.

Councillor Greta Werner submitted a motion calling for the council to note the concerns of residents and report back on how to address the issues raised in the petition.

"Residents are asking that the use of the soccer fields at the park be adjusted to what it was before the implementation of the synthetic field," she said.

Garnet Brownbill, a local resident who spoke at the council meeting, claimed to have collected evidence showing that the park is now used more frequently, with more than double the usage compared to before the synthetic field was installed in 2021.

The residents' petition also asked the council to exclude the grass field at the northern end of the park from any bookings to allow for informal, passive recreation.

Residents stated that Gardiner Park is currently booked by sporting clubs for 315 days a year, as opposed to the 120 days it was being used before the synthetic pitch was installed.

Resident Catriona Carver, president of the Natural Turf Alliance, requested an acoustic report on the park and for the council to facilitate a meeting with the soccer community to discuss the issues on the park usage at a roundtable.

Banksia Tigers president, Hassan Chebli, disputed the claims, stating that the park is the home of Banksia Tigers but is also used by local schools, and other sporting clubs. He also said that Banksia Tigers used to book the park Monday to Friday and weekends before the synthetic project.

"315 days is very excessive and nowhere reflects the current bookings we have at the park," he said.

He added that the grass field area at the northern end of the field is designated for their under 8s to 12s. If excluded, this will reduce the playing area for this age group.

Irene Hatzipetros, Director and Chair of St George Football Association, also disputed the park commercialisation claim, saying that the sporting groups who use the park are not commercial organisations. She added that taking away the grass field will be detrimental to their playing communities.

Cr Werner urged councillors to support her motion.

“332 people signed the petition. It's very important council notes their concerns and that we come to a balance whereby everybody makes a little bit of a compromise."

Cr Werner's motion was not supported.

Instead, Councillors unanimously supported a motion submitted by Cr Liz Barlow, chair of the Gardiner Park Reference Group, that council receive and note the petition, that councillors be provided with an information session regarding usage of all council's sporting grounds, and that the Gardiner Park Reference Group welcomes ideas for the park.

Join the conversation

or to participate.