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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 416 ..

Yarralumla oval-installation of training lights

MR CORBELL (4.31): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly requests the Minister for Sport and Recreation to reconsider his decision to proceed with the installation of training lights on the Yarralumla oval.

I have moved this motion today because of the considerable concern of residents in an area of Yarralumla immediately surrounding the Yarralumla oval in relation to the government's proposal to install training lights at Yarralumla oval. I have moved the motion not out of any lack of concern for the provision of appropriate training facilities for soccer in the ACT, nor do I do it simply in response to some concerns raised by particular individuals. It is a broader question of whether we should be proceeding with this type of development close to residential areas in the ACT.

As our city continues to grow and as this current government continues with its policy of urban consolidation-that is, more and more dwellings in existing residential areas-pressure on areas of urban open space, including ovals and playing fields, will become more and more intense, and there will be greater and greater demand for the use of these spaces as redevelopment and regeneration occurs within our established suburbs. As that demand grows, there will be, of course, the demand that we see now in relation to training lights so that Yarralumla oval can be utilised in the darker hours.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in principle this is not a bad response, but in practice it raises a number of serious concerns. The first is that this proposal is inappropriate for this particular location. Yarralumla oval has a number of dwellings, a number of homes, which abut immediately onto the oval space. There is no separating buffer zone or green space, and nor is there any separating area of even a roadway on part of the oval site.

Residences that immediately face onto the oval are having problems with the increased use of that oval. I had drawn to my attention just recently concerns about soccer balls landing in the gardens of people immediately abutting onto the Yarralumla Oval, and some conflict has resulted. That in itself should be properly managed, but when you have training lights on the oval at night you are going to face a situation of considerable glare coming into the homes of people who immediately abut onto the oval. In winter, with the loss of the leaf canopy from deciduous trees that ring part of the oval, those lights will shine into the windows of homes just across the road from the oval.

I think the government needs to think again about putting up training lights at local ovals like this. It is certainly appropriate to have training lights at district playing fields or at other specifically dedicated sports grounds which are designed for this purpose, but local ovals have lower intensity use and really should be addressed as such.

I believe that the provision of lighting for training will eventually lead to demands for a higher level of lighting beyond that required for training-perhaps lighting for some junior games. Rather than just training lights we will have lights for games, and I do not think we should support that sort of imposition on what is very much a residential area.

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