During my 2023 campaign as the Community Independent candidate for the seat of Wahroonga, I was incredibly disturbed by what I’d learned about the Norman Griffiths Oval Synthetic Turf project, and synthetic turf in general. My passion for the environment has not subsided because I did not win the election. I simply cannot let this issue go until all the facts are available to the community for them to judge whether this project and others like it should proceed in our community. Therefore, I have compiled a list of facts in the form of a 'Position Paper' that the public may never have had access to before now. It outlines the flawed decision-making process that led to plastic turf being placed on a large oval at West Pymble among critically endangered ecosystems. I collaborated with The Natural Turf Alliance to host a Community Forum on 23 June to inform the public. It was a very successful event. Below is the video link to the forum. Our democracy can only work properly if the community is well informed.
Dr Higginson (Senate MP) sent the following letter to the General Manager, Mr McKee at Ku-ring-gai Council in relation to Clause 171a of the EPA.. She is past CEO and lead solicitor for the Environment Defenders Office (EDO). There has been no response from Mr McKee. The Council is yet to receive legal advice from their lawyers.
Construction is underway for a 3.5-million-dollar synthetic turf oval on top of a major water catchment area that flows into the Lane Cove River at Norman Griffiths Oval West Pymble. There is a clear environmental risk of plastic and chemical run-off into Quarry Creek and into the Lane Cove River. Additionally, the critically endangered ecological community of Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest (STIF) is above and around the oval. The microplastics and cork infill from the synthetic turf are a threat to this endangered flora and fauna. There are also health and safety concerns for players, many of whom are children. The science against synthetic turf is mounting and our State and Local Governments appear to be ignoring this evidence and indeed withholding it.
There is a bigger story. A story about withholding critical information to the community about the health, safety, and environmental risks of synthetic turf; how money from sporting grants is allocated before proper due diligence is undertaken; the dangerous disregard of local government to protect flora and fauna on the brink of extinction; the contempt displayed to community voices who challenged the October 2020 decision to proceed with synthetic turf at Norman Griffith Oval.
In the March 23 NSW Election, there was a swing against Liberal MP Alister Henskens in the electorate of Wahroonga where the Norman Griffith Oval is located. I received 9.3% of the votes. Tina Brown from The Post wrote “This is a significant dent in the Liberal hold for Wahroonga. She also wrote “I was struck by Kristyn’s strong stand for Wahroonga, her voice for women, and her passion for the environment.
My passion for the environment has not subsided because I did not win the election. I simply cannot let this issue go until all the facts are available to the community for them to judge whether this project and others like it should proceed in our community. Therefore, I have compiled a list of facts that the public may never have had access to before now.
Let me be crystal clear. This is not about kids' sports. We should be doing all we can to provide adequate playing fields. The lack of sporting infrastructure isn’t limited to playing fields. We have over-developed in Ku-ring-gai without proper planning for extra infrastructure like more playing fields.
During the election campaign I used my platform to raise awareness of this and other environmental issues that are not being addressed. The ferocious responses from others in the community who continually told me "you don't have the facts!" has driven me to write a comprehensive position paper listing the facts as I know them. Please take the time to read this position paper and send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm more than happy for this to be a working document.
A Non-Plastic Future for Community Ovals: Synthetic -v- Natural Turf. Get the Facts from the Experts
Kristyn Haywood - Independent Candidate 4 Wahroonga. Authorised by S. Crossman, 16 Normanhurst Road, Normanhurst 2076