Leichhardt Council will rally local sporting groups in a renewed fight to make sure open spaces and sporting facilities are included in the development of the Bays Precinct.

Please find below the text of a LMC media release.

The move to hold a Council summit meeting on 1 December follows the Government’s failure to include any new sporting facilities in their plans for the Bays Precinct.

Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said the State Government’s had again ignored the desperate need for sporting fields and open space in the inner west.

“The State’s plans for the massive redevelopment of the Bays Precinct have completely overlooked the needs of the residents who live here now and the residents who will live here in the future,” said Cr Byrne.

“The inner west is crying out for open space and places to play. We need to put as much pressure as we can on the State Government to make it happen while we have this unique opportunity in the Bays Precinct.”

“Council will host a meeting of peak sporting associations and local clubs to work out a joint campaign to keep the heat on.

Cr Byrne said Leichhardt Council has already been working to address a significant shortage in both passive and active open space for existing residents.

“Over the last four years we’ve created three new sporting fields at Callan Park, upgraded two further fields, opened up new recreational trails in Balmain’s Cameron’s Cove and created a completely new neighbourhood park in Annandale, with more to come,” he said.

“But the additional pressures of 16,000 more residential units within the Bays Precinct, coupled with our existing shortage of open space, would place an immense added burden on Leichhardt Council and our community.

Glenn Burge, convenor of the local Sporting Alliance and their ‘Spaces to Play’ campaign, said local sporting clubs welcomed the Council summit to advance the shared goals of the campaign.

"The future active open space needs are a critical community need at a time of extraordinary high levels of new housing development," Mr Burge said.

Canterbury and District Soccer Football Association chief executive Ian Holmes said the State Government and its agencies were ignoring the needs of community sport in the inner west.

“We have a major health crisis looming with issues around childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes and associated health issues connected with a lack of physical activity. This will result in an economic catastrophe for future State Government health budgets. Is this going to be the Baird Government’s legacy to the taxpayers in this state?”

Mr Holmes said the Government can find $1.6 billion to build stadiums for professional sporting franchises, but cannot find space for local sporting fields.

“The question for the Premier and his Ministers is; where do the children play?

“If the Government continues down this manic path of population intensification by apartment construction, it is simply going to create major social problems for the future right on the doorstep of the CBD. It is simply irresponsible, poor public policy and poor governance to maintain this direction.”


Labor Candidate Survey Responses.





Greens Candidate Survey Responses.









Will they listen in Strathfield, Drummoyne and Balmain electorates ?


By Michael Cockerill,

Sydney Morning Herald March 7

How much power does football really have?

We're about to find out. The NSW state election on March 28 will tell us whether football has finally begun to make inroads into the corridors of power after generations of neglect.

Some of that neglect is self-inflicted, but mostly it's based on a historical perception by politicians that this is a game easy to ignore. No longer. For the first time the game has a coherent strategy to tackle its most important single issue - a chronic lack of infrastructure - and the forthcoming poll in NSW will be a revealing litmus test of how much progress is being made.

At the apex of the infrastructure pyramid is Pirtek Stadium. Of the three major stadium projects under consideration, this is the one that football wants, and needs.

The other night, the richest club in Asia, Guangzhou Evergrande, changed in a demountable dressing room while cosmetic surgery continues to meet minimum requirements for international events. It's not a good look. The impeccably groomed visiting coach Fabio Cannavaro might have been struggling for a hair dryer. Seriously, a patch-up job is not what the venue needs.

Parramatta is vying with ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium for a decent share of the $600 million fund pledged by the current government. Improving Homebush Bay and Moore Park doesn't deliver the same benefits to football as a much-needed upgrade of Parramatta does. Let's see which way the wind blows after March 28.

The apex of the pyramid, of course, is always the most expensive, but it's at the base where the need is arguably the greatest. Dilapidated dressing sheds, poor lighting and - arguably most important - dangerous playing surfaces, blight the game at community level.

Football Federation Australia now has a pool of research to quantify the depth of the problem, and therefore the ammunition to lobby for public funding. Football NSW has taken up the baton, and now employs full-time staff to help community clubs work through the labyrinthine process of applying for grants. It's believed three projects - Christie Park at North Ryde, Ernie Smith Reserve at Moorebank and Garside Park at Granville - will be the guinea pigs of this new pro-active approach.

And then there's the 'Spaces to Play' campaign organised by livewire Balmain Football Club director Glenn Burge, a man who has become the game's most ferocious advocate on this issue. With 32,000 extra residents and 16,000 new dwellings planned for the old railway yards at Rozelle, Burge and his partners from other sports are rightly concerned about the stony silence from planners when questioned on the issue of open space.

Balmain DFC, like the association they play in - Canterbury - are bursting at the seams. Canterbury reported 12.8 per cent growth in registrations last year, and is now the fourth-biggest in the state. Association boss Ian Holmes admits his organisation has finally run out of room. New synthetic pitches at Lambert Park, Arlington Oval and Fraser Park alleviate some pressure, while fixturing matches during the week is becoming an option to accommodate the packed schedule. It's a start.

Politicians, of course, are accustomed to being lobbied. It's not what they say, but what they do, that counts. So there's some hope when you see half a dozen state MPs descend on a "Friends of Sydney Olympic" dinner, as I did at a city restaurant this week.

Not that long ago, politicians - especially Liberals - would have kept a club like Sydney Olympic at arm's length. Yet here they were tripping over each other to promise support for the academy project at Tempe in exchange for the obvious - crucial votes from the inner-west Greek community. The good news is that club directors have learnt to smell the BS from a mile off, and they seem genuinely optimistic that this time the politicians are ready to help.

Football has a convincing case that of all the sports its need is the greatest. It's not just that it's the biggest participation code of football across the nation. It's that in terms of infrastructure, it has the most catching up to do. Are the politicians finally starting to listen? We'll see.


The bulging Bays Precinct

Hans Kumpel wants sporting infrastructure for the local community

Hans Kumpel wants sporting infrastructure for the local community

By Leesha McKenny,

Premier Mike Baird declared Sydney's Bays Precinct a "complete and utter blank canvas" less than three months ago, but there are already concerns that the area's competing visions and existing plans will struggle to fit.

Google is understood to be eyeing off the area around the White Bay power station as a possible location for its future Sydney headquarters.

At the other end of the inner harbour urban renewal precinct, the Sydney Fish Market has enlisted Brookfield Multiplex to prepare artist impressions showcasing its role as a reinvigorated tourist drawcard for Blackwattle Bay.

A coalition of inner west sporting clubs, meanwhile, is on Saturday launching a "Spaces to Play" campaign calling on the state government to commit to including seven to 10 sporting fields in the 80-hectare redevelopment site to address a chronic shortage of active recreation space in the inner west.

"We need to have more viable grounds for all codes of sports," said Balmain and District Football Club veteran goalkeeper Hans Kumpel, 75.

"It's been going on for yonks and that applies to many teams. When I played for Marrickville FC, and now with Balmain, we often have to play on other grounds in our district when we're meant to have a home game."

The Sporting Alliance, comprising soccer, cricket and netball clubs among other sporting groups, argues the need for active recreational facilities would become even more acute if the government builds 16,000 new dwellings in the precinct.

The housing figure was announced by Treasurer Andrew Constance in November, but quickly repudiated by Mr Baird and Planning Minister Pru Goward, who said the government had set no such target.

New housing has nonetheless been flagged as part of any future development for the Bays Precinct, alongside areas for recreation, retail, tourism, commercial and maritime uses.

The disused Rozelle rail yards – one of three sites, along with Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay, earmarked for possible mixed use development – could host four full-sized ovals, the Sporting Alliance said.

But Sandy Thomas, a long-time consultant to Sydney's transport bureaucracy, said the Rozelle rail yards had "already achieved magic pudding status."

In addition to its role meeting any future housing target, the site had already been earmarked as the location of a maintenance depot for the CBD and South East Light Rail.

"And now the eastern half of this precinct will largely be swallowed up by the surface six-way spaghetti junction connections between the two arms of WestConnex, Victoria Road, Anzac Bridge, the road into the White Bay/Balmain cruise ship terminal and the new harbour crossing," Mr Thomas said.

Transport for NSW said that there were no changes to the maintenance facility as a result of the planned WestConnex links at Rozelle.

UrbanGrowth, the government's property development arm, is not due to present its draft strategic plan for the Bays Precinct to the state government until after the March election.

Sporting Alliance spokesman Glenn Burge said the "Spaces to Play" campaign had given the state government a deadline of March 1 to publicly commit to set active recreation space for all codes as a planning principle for the precinct.

"There is a compete failure at state government level to match sporting facilities to population growth or urban consolidation," said Mr Burge, who is also Balmain and District Football Club's president.

A spokesman for Ms Goward said extensive consultation would be sought from the public, including at a "Sydneysiders' Summit" to be held in May.

"The Bays Urban Transformation Program is in its early days and nowhere near the land use planning stage," he said.

Leichhardt Councillors back Spaces to Play

Balmain O45s/2 goalkeeper Hans Kumpel,  All Abilities star player Arran Keith and Moya Dodd at Spaces to Play launch event. 

Balmain O45s/2 goalkeeper Hans Kumpel,  All Abilities star player Arran Keith and Moya Dodd at Spaces to Play launch event. 

Leichhardt Council last night became the first council to give its full support to the Sports Alliance’s community campaign aimed at securing a commitment from the NSW State Government to include sporting fields in its master planning for the Bays Precinct. 

“The State Government has released its 20 Guiding Principles for master planning in the Bays Precinct but none of those principles lock in a commitment to sporting fields and open space for active and passive recreation,” said Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous. 

“We want the Government to undertake a full recreational needs analysis for today’s residents and for any planned residential development in the Bays Precinct in the future. We believe the State Government should commit to at least seven sporting fields, four of which should be located in the Rozelle Goods Yards corridor and three within the Whites Bay precinct,” Cr Porteous said. 

“This is an important community wide campaign. Leichhardt Council itself has been working hard to address significant deficiencies in both passive and active open space for our existing residents over the last four years with the provision of three new sporting fields at Callan Park, two significant sporting field upgrades, the opening up of new recreational trails in Balmain (Cameron’s Cove) and master planning for a new neighbourhood park in Annandale (Chester Street Park). 

“But now the additional pressures of potentially massive high density residential development within the Bays Precinct coupled with these existing open space deficiencies would place an immense added burden on Leichhardt Council and our community. 

“The suburbs of Balmain, Lilyfield and Rozelle would be impacted upon significantly as would the adjoining suburb of Glebe within the City of Sydney. Without a considered strategic planning process, any plans for the redevelopment of the Bays Precinct will be flawed and ill prepared to meet the recreational needs of future local residents. We are also calling on Urban Growth to consult widely with the community on these principles before further work is done.” 

Sporting Alliance spokesman Glenn Burge commended Council’s support for the ‘Spaces to Play’ campaign following its launch in the Inner West last weekend. "Our thousands of children and parents are extremely grateful for the strong show of support from Leichhardt Councillors for our recently launched campaign for sporting facilities in the Bays Precinct,” Mr Burge said. 

"The 80 hectares of the Bays Precinct land is a once in a lifetime chance to improve the amenity of the local community by making open space a planning priority. The Sporting Alliance calls on Premier Mike Baird, Planning Minister Pru Goward and UrbanGrowth NSW chairman John Brogden to show courage and leadership ahead of the State election. They need to put their signatures down as a Planning Principle to mandate open space tied to whatever level of new housing and resident numbers are planned for the Bays Precinct."


State Election: Campaign to make sport a top priority in crucial Bays Precinct development





AN ALLIANCE of clubs from Sydney’s inner west are calling on Premier Mike Baird to make sport a priority in the Bays Precinct.

Representatives from soccer, football, cricket, netball and other codes have formed the Sporting Alliance to lobby the government for at least seven sports fields just weeks from the State Election.

While there are no formal concept plans for the precinct, Mr Baird has described the area taking in Balmain, Rozelle, Annandale, Lilyfield and Pyrmont as Sydney’s “most exciting” urban renewal project.

Alliance organiser Glenn Burge, also Balmain and District Football Club’s president, said there was a desperate need for sporting facilities and open space in this part of the city.

“The recent development of Harold Park has done nothing, it’s underwater most of the time,” Mr Burge said.

“There’s a huge population in the inner west and there needs to be a variety of different sporting facilities to accommodate their participation in sport, ” Mr Burge said.

“Politicians should never stand in the way of a proud sports mum or dad.”

Mr Burge said the alliance wanted a written guarantee for sporting fields for all codes as a planning principle for the Bays Precinct before March 1.



“We believe the state government currently has no intention of delivering the seven to 10 sporting fields the area needs for the number of new residents moving in,” Mr Burge said.

“Sport is a critical part of community building, it’s part of the social fabric that helps ensure the community is also fit and healthy.”

A spokesman for Planning Minister Pru Goward said no future plans for the Bays Precinct had been finalised.

“A Transformation Plan will be informed by an extensive public engagement program, which will include the Sydneysiders’ Summit in May this year,” the spokesman said.

The Space To Play campaign launches on Saturday 7 February, with sporting organisations, players and personalities rallying at Sydney Secondary College’s Balmain Campus to demand a guarantee of adequate open active spaces for the Bays Precinct.



Our greatest ever Socceroo, Tim Cahill, has just played a starring role in Australia’s triumphant Asian Cup campaign but Balmain Football Club where it all started for Cahill, with the support of Football NSW, Netball NSW and Athletics NSW,  is now leading a campaign to ensure there are enough “Spaces to Play” for future generations.

The Bays Precinct development, a multi-billion dollar project by Urban Growth NSW on the western city fringe, could include up to 16,000 new dwellings bringing around 32,000 new residents to the area but there are serious concerns the State Government is not planning to include any new open active space in the project so the question must be asked: “Where will the people play?”

A Sporting Alliance is banding together to demand an undertaking that adequate Spaces to Play, at least ten sporting fields and infrastructure for other smaller footprint sporting activities, are provided for the future needs of the community.

It’s well documented that sport and recreation activity can provide improved social, health, educational and cultural outcomes for all and by ignoring the need for Spaces to Play in a development with a projected possible population of 32,000, more than Balmain, Rozelle and Annandale combined, there is a real risk the fitness and well-being of the residents would suffer.

Without the facilities needed in the Bays Precinct development, new residents wanting sport and recreation would only put further pressure on the inner-west’s existing facilities that are already overused in the most densely populated part of Sydney.

There are serious concerns the State Government is ignoring the needs of the community and a Sporting Alliance (including football, netball, athletics, cricket, rugby union and rugby league) is acting now before it’s too late to secure the Spaces to Play we need.

Sporting organisations, participants and personalities will rally together on Saturday 7th February at Sydney Secondary College, Balmain Campus to demand a guarantee adequate open active space is included in the Bays Precinct.

WHAT: Rally to demand Spaces to Play in the Bays Precinct development

WHERE: Sydney Secondary College, Balmain Campus

23-33 Terry St Balmain

WHEN: Saturday 7th February at 3.45pm

Further Enquiries: Glenn Burge, President Balmain FC: - 0408 700 529