Published at 4:53pm, September 27th, 2022.
Dear the Northern Suburbs Community,
I write to you in response to a recent petition placed before Ku-ring-gai Council in relation to NSFA’s Development Application DA 0484/21 known as our ‘NTRA Development’. As previously communicated this development involves NSFA proposing to construct new changerooms, toilets amenities, community rooms, undercover seating and community working spaces at North Turramurra Recreation Area. This addition will be paid for by the Northern Suburbs FA and will create an inclusive, accessible and top quality community asset. Use of the facility will be open to the users of NTRA, with vitally needed changerooms, accessible toilets and undercover seating most importantly expected to be welcomed. For further details please select here.
Cr Spencer raised the petition at last weeks Ku-ring-gai Council meeting (20/9/22) which requests the Ku-ring-gai Local Planning Panel to reject the NSFA’s Development Application.
We are extremely disappointed to learn of the petition and question how signatures were collected in a fair and localised manner. NSFA has complied with Council processes during the three community consultation phases applied to the Development Application, which has produced overwhelmingly positive contributions from the local community in support of the DA.
During the Development Application process NSFA has undergone multiple stages of community consultation and engagement to hear from the local North Turramurra and Ku-ring-gai Community, with the major community open day occurring on Sunday 10th April. During this and other community engagements NSFA has openly and honestly shared the purpose of the development, reasons for its importance and the benefits it will give to our local community. The NSFA have had open dialogue with North Turramurra Action Group (NTAG) and its President for over 4 years on the proposed development and have been disappointed by recent actions.
Below, we respond to each of the concerns raised by the petition.
A regular concern raised from opposers to the Development Application is the additional noise and traffic attracted to NTRA during ‘premier matches’. After consultation with local residents it has been concluded that premier matches are defined as when the Northern Tigers FC First Grade team are fixtured, which occurs between April – September during the winter season. Northern Tigers FC are the Ku-ring-gai and surrounds representative team, whom have existed since 2002 and have played their regular matches at NTRA since 2017. The Club first grade have been semi-professional since this time and are not a professional team. Northern Tigers compete in the state league competition, not the professional national division such as Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners FC. There is not expected to be additional ‘premier matches’ at NTRA due to the current ground capacity being met.
Steps have been taken to schedule First Grade Northern Tigers FC matches to the field from 5pm onwards on weekends to allow for the full car park capacity to be utilised as the grass fields (NTRA #2 & NTRA #3) will not be in use and during the winter the golf course will also be closed at this time due to darkness. This has occurred for the past 6 years and has not resulted in any ongoing concerns by residents adjacent to the facility.
There is not anticipated to be significantly greater noise levels as identified in the report, with the overall recreation area attendance anticipated to be similar to that of a weekend morning, which currently causes no concern.
- The amended traffic and parking report is based on existing numbers and users
NSFA Response – The amended traffic report was completed as per the KLPP requirements and request of further information (16/05/22).
The amended traffic report provides accurate information for the maximum facility capacity which is provided to NSFA and other sporting groups of the complex by Ku-ring-gai Council. This is calculated was on the open and close times of the car park, along with the limited use grass turfs are permitted to be hired to users for, which currently stands at 30 hours per week. It is worth noting the current capacity utilised by NSFA for sportsground hire is at the maximum use (30 hrs per week for grass fields) and will not change regardless of the DA outcome.
The amended traffic report also applied a ‘multiplication’ metric to any major events or ‘premier matches’ that take place at NTRA. This additional length was taken after community feedback was raised with concern over semi-professional sports matches attracting greater than usual crowds, such as additional family and friends. A multiplication of three times the ‘officials’ quantity was used in the Facility Usage Schedule. During any such ‘premier match’ it is worth noting that the grass fields (NTRA #2 & NTRA #3) will not be in use, nor the golf course, as the ‘premier matches’ only occur from 5pm onwards on weekends. This enables the full car parking facilities to be used. This scheduling approach has been used for the past 6 years without complaint or concern and takes place between April – August (winter season).
- The acoustic report is based on existing numbers and users
NSFA Response – As outlined above, the existing use and ‘future use’ of NTRA for ground hire is the same. The NSFA and other sport users are constraint by the Ku-ring-gai Council Plan of Management and policy for ground hire. NSFA are unable to book the grounds for any more hours and thus cannot play more games and attract more participants that currently.
The below extract identifies there is expected to be no significant increase in noise levels due to the usage of the recreation area.
Extract from Acoustic Report.
- The usage report is based on existing numbers and users
NSFA Response – As per above, NSFA bookings are limited by Ku-ring-gai Council and therefore no increase in ground bookings is being sought, nor expected to be given by Ku-ring-gai Council. Therefore, existing ground booking, participant usage and spectator usage models have been used which have demonstrated over the past 6 years to be of no concern to surrounding residents or the wider community.
Spectators have been measured by various metrics in alignment with current usage of the recreation area. For ‘premier matches’ this metric has been multiplied by three (3) to reflect an increase of crowd larger than any expected during the 2022 season. Any ‘premier match’ will have full access to the car park as these matches occur from 5pm onwards during which time the grass fields and golf course are not operational.
During the 2022 season a case study of premier matches was conducted which showed the multiplication metric of three to be an accurate reflection of spectator attendance at a normal Northern Tigers First Grade fixture.
- The plan of management of NTRA does not allow for a grandstand or offices
The NSFA, formerly Ku-ring-gai Districts Soccer Association (KDSA), put forth the original concept proposal in 1997 for the current North Turramurra Recreation Area. The Management Objectives of the NTRA Plan of Management identify providing a safe environment for players, spectators, casual and informal users of North Turramurra Recreation Area. Positive management would enable user needs identified, development to minimise risk and appropriate design and construction techniques explored. The current Proposal aims to meet these objectives, creating an inclusive and safe environment for all users of the community, most notably children, females, athletes with a disability and spectators, page 12 (Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009).
A significant part of the NTRA Development is the construction of additional amenities and toilet facilities. This aligns with Councils identified concern on page 18, gender equity. The current Area provides two changerooms for three sportsfields as well as one female toilet for the entire precinct, including golf course. This level of amenities is inadequate on the weekend and results in unsanitary conditions within toilets, women and girls changing in the open and female players refusing to play at NTRA due to the lack of available changing spaces.
Maintenance and ancillary upgrade collaboration between Council and NSFA has occurred as stated on Page 12 (Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009). In recent years this has been in the form of NSFA funding fencing, dugouts and working with Council to identify improvements at the site (bubbler, turf muddy areas, amenities water proofing panels etc.).
The Proposed development aims to improve the Access and useability of North Turramurra Recreation Area by creating more amenities for the disabled, safe environments for children and safe environment for female sport users to change. This is highlighted as an important consideration on Page 13 (Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009).
Traffic and Parking is highlighted within the Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009 was highlighted as an area that required further investigation. The NSFA and Council have worked together since the Areas opening in 2017 to ensure sporting activity does not exceed the available parking or capacity of the local road network. In recent times this has resulted in NSFA scheduling less junior matches on the sportsfields which directly results in less players on the fields, as well as scheduling ‘premier matches’ at night time whilst the two grass fields and golf course are not in use. The scheduling of premier matches in the evening ensures the available parking spots are sufficient in the case of increased spectator attendance, See NTRA Usage profile.
The Plan of Management encourages the development of Clubhouses and amenities buildings and their multi-purpose usage, page 15 (Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009). As part of the Proposed development, NSFA has sought support from other sporting codes and community groups whom will be able to access the building and overall enhance the use of the Area. Please see the letters of support document. It is the Councils strategy under the Code usage compatibility & multiple uses (Page 23, Kuring-Gai Council, Plan of Management, North Turramurra Recreation Area, February 2009) to provide opportunities for a range of passive or non sporting activities at North Turramurra. The Proposed development will achieve this due to the creation of meeting spaces, areas to conduct development opportunities, spaces to engage in youth development and spaces that can be utilised by other community groups such as yoga, pilates, karate, walking groups and meeting rooms.
The use of non-sporting spaces has been welcomed in the past in Ku-ring-gai with the establishment of club houses, meeting rooms, sporting club working spaces and canteens at many sportsfields and natural areas throughout the Council region such as:
- Charles Bean Oval, Lindfield
- Warrimoo Oval, St Ives
- Hassall Park, St Ives
- North Turramurra Golf Course & Clubhouse, North Turramurra
- Auluba Oval, South Turramurra
In closing, Northern Suburbs FA are a non-for-profit, community organisation that intend to use the community working space during the NTRA off-peak hours, housing up to 12 employees at any one time. This will not add any significant traffic or noise to the site. Further, it aligns with other leased assets within the NTRA by Council.
- The DA is not consistent with the Plan of Management which states all future development should maximise the opportunity for passive recreation.
The above objection is a narrow view of the POM. The development will service the current recreation area, providing community assets as outlined above.