Let's keep Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Oval

Hi there, we are the recently formed Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association. Our purpose is to advocate for preventing further plastic contamination of the harbour by the preservation of the existing shared natural grass space at Bob Campbell Oval or BCO (or Gore Creek Reserve as its known by many locally). It is located on St Vincents Road in Greenwich, and is a haven nestled amongst natural reserve, cliff-face and Sydney Harbour. For 85 years it has been a natural grass shared space with cricket and football and community recreation. It is a very sensitive environment adjacent to the water, with a healthy biodiversity of invertebrates, burrowing insects, birds and other reptiles. For more information we encourage you all to log into https://www.naturalgrassbco.com/ .

Last year the Lane Cove Council (Council) surprised the community by announcing that it would impose a plastic contaminating synthetic football pitch against the community's wishes in this highly sensitive location. Council have not listened to the community to date and look very unlikely to do so, so we are more and more likely to be forced into taking legal action that we believe will stop this development. 

Support us please in our fund raising, support our fight for stopping Council's plastic polluting artificial surface, and let's maintain a fully natural grass pitch for football and the community to share. Please donate now.

Further Information Leading up to our Campaign:

You may already be aware that the Lane Cove Council, is proceeding aggressively and with unexplained haste, to implement an artificial surface at BCO. Their given reason is supposedly to cope with the demands for increasing playing hours. The problem with the Lane Cove Council solution, is that it will create a pollution issue, as, according to the Council's report, micro plastics from the artificial surface will be shed from the synthetic surface and make their way into the harbour. The issue of plastics and microplastics polluting waterways is well known and the ramifications are devastating to all marine life. The pollution issue is actually noted in the current REF (Review of Environmental Factors) as prepared for Council by an independent body. Most surprising is the fact that Council continue on this path even though the state legislation says it is illegal to pollute the harbour.

The local communities of Greenwich, Northwood, Longueville and Lane Cove all feel so strongly about maintaining natural grass at Bob Campbell, that more than 1600 members of the community signed a petition against the construction of an artificial surface. Furthermore LCC received nearly 200 written submissions against the proposal when it was debated in Council Chambers. To date it is only due to the use of the Mayor's casting vote in what has become a split vote (4 in favour and 4 against) which has ensured the project continues.

An artificial surface has a devastating impact on the biodiversity cycle on all forms of wildlife, as it effectively creates a wildlife desert, removes soil moisture which in turn eliminates organic content within the soil, and establishes a heat island type phenomenon.

The Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association does advocate for the refurbishment of the existing grass field and pitch, and does want to see it amended to modern sustainable standards as natural grass. This will ensure safe healthy participation for all grades of football and cricket as well as keeping Bob Campbell open and shared by the whole community.

The issue of of the quality of grass cover late into the winter months has long been a problem at BCO, and once again in mid-August 2021 it is in very poor condition. LCC have defended the quality of cover with excuses such as problems with sunshine, existing soil condition and others. LCC insist the only option for BCO to achieve a consistent playing field all year round is to construct an artificial surface. So the Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association engaged Dr Mick Battam of AgEnviro Solutions to conduct an assessment into whether the proposed LCC usage requirements could be achieved via reconstructing and reconditioning the existing pitch. We were extremely pleased to hear from Dr Battam that this could indeed occur, and he provided various examples of ovals where at the request of the various Councils he had recently amended their surface naturally. Middle Head Oval in Mosman is a good example, and the Mayor of Mosman has publicly confirmed the success of the project.

So our objective is to persuade Lane Cove Council to create a great natural grass pitch at Bob Campbell Oval. The experts say this is possible, so lets do it! This grassy area will then continue to be the shared open space that the whole community can enjoy, like it has done for so many years. It will be a space that the Greenwich Village Games can continue to thrive upon.

To do this however, we have to first stop Lane Cove Council and the synthetic pitch industry, on their hell bent efforts to overcome any opposition and ignore requests for a decent pause and consideration of the alternatives. Lane Cove Council's environmental certification has already been shown to be inadequate and they were forced to withdraw it. Next time, we are not so confident they will back down, and sadly we will have to take legal action. 

The process for approval of such a significant piece of infrastructure is outdated and inadequate, with only a minimum desktop environmental review (a REF) required. There seems to be no requirement for a DA and a full Environmental Impact Statement, which requires formal and considered inputs from bodies outside of Lane Cove Council.

So with limited oversight, complex environmental impacts, lots of unanswered questions, we are going to need significant expert help to argue our case and this brings us to the essence of this fundraising campaign. We need to continue to raise funding to ensure we have sufficient resources to confront the various issues.  Your financial support is therefore essential, if we are to halt what is otherwise likely to remain as a legacy to the Lane Cove Council of 2021, but much more importantly deny all of us residents access to our own natural haven next to the harbour. All funding raised under this campaign will be used by the Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association to stop LCC from installing an artificial surface.

Our plan for all proceeds received from this campaign.
Your kind donations will be transferred to the Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Inc bank account held at the Crows Nest branch of the CBA in Sydney. There are two signatories for this account, Martin Cunningham, the President, and John Southwood, the Treasurer of the Association. They are co-signatories, meaning that both are required to sign any funds paid from the account. The Treasurer produces bank statements on a fortnightly basis and also a monthly treasurers report. This report includes both balance sheet and profit and loss financial statements, and these are presented to the Committee of the Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association for their monthly review.

The Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association committee reviews each specific need for funds to be applied in accordance with the overall aims of the Association. These include legal fees, and costs associated with independent expert reports primarily, and to a much lesser extent marketing and campaign materials and expenses. No payments are planned to be made to any committee member or member of the association, which is a wholly community based, volunteer group. 

On conclusion of the matter, and in line with Clause 42 of our Constitution, which follows a winding up of the association and subject to the Act and regulations,  “any surplus property of the association is to be transferred to another organisation with similar objectives and which is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members”.

Thank you

Dennis Karp
Greenwich 2065 NSW 

For and on behalf of the Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association

Donations (183)

  • Ian Devaney
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Kim Hawkins
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • John Southwood
    • $1,000 
    • 2 yrs
  • Jenny Farrell
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Bruce Moir
    • $30 
    • 2 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Natural Grass at Bob Campbell Association
St Leonards NSW
Martin Cunningham

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