Gardiner Park is an 86 year old community park in the Sydney suburb of Banksia and is zoned RE1, Recreational. It was opened in 1935 as part of a work relief scheme during the Great Depression.
Gardiner Park is the latest in a string of public parks across the Bayside LGA undergoing a synthetic field installation. It is one of 6 synthetic soccer fields within 3 km of Rockdale station. In fact, every single park in the Rockdale ward that is big enough to have a soccer field, now has one or is having one installed.
There are many reasons why this is a problem including environmental, financial and equity issues. Environmental issues include that synthetic fields shed microplastics and carcinogenic substances from the ground up car tires used as infill. Gardiner Park is a floodway, so all these substances are washed through people’s backyards and end up in Botany Bay.
With limited public consultation, Bayside Council has used $3 million of community money to upgrade this natural park to synthetic. Against the zoning it will now favour only one sport, soccer, and alienate all other activities. The synthetic field sits 1.2m higher than the current field as it has been built on a floodway, is surrounded by fencing and 3m x 6m high screens at the goal ends. Open space has become enclosed space.
Click here for further information on the Gardiner Park Case Study, prepared by Friends of Gardiner Park