When council, in 2010, proposed redesigning the North Turramurra Golf Course to include soccer fields and changeroom facilities, council promised to incorporate a park with children’s playground and BBQ facilities in addition to walking tracks to adjacent bushland for the enjoyment of the wider community. The North Turramurra Recreation Area (NTRA) project was partly funded with a 3.15% surcharge on ratepayers for 6 years to deliver a multi-use facility. Although the site is the only open green space (other than a designated dog park) for the northern extremity of the peninsular, the non-sporting recreational uses have never been delivered.
In 2021, the Northern Suburbs Football Association (NSFA) lodged a Development Application to build themselves a Home of Football based at NTRA on Bobbin Head Road. The proposal consists of a 300-seat undercover grandstand, and includes an exclusive gym, physio room, player and referee change rooms, meeting room, corporate box, closed media box, café with office space and boardroom.
North Turramurra residents overwhelmingly objected to the proposal presenting written objections and petitions with over one thousand signatures. The main objections relate to the scale of the facility, intensification of use in numbers and time, its impacts on evacuation in an area designated High Bushfire Prone and the long-term occupation of a large part of the NTRA site by a single user. Residents also raised existing issues with parking across driveways, noise and lights.
The NSFA acoustic, parking and traffic studies that concluded the new grandstand development would have no impact locally, were all based on the assumption of no change to existing player and spectator numbers. The NSFA denied intensification of use despite residents pointing out the inconsistency with a NSFA 2021-2022 application for a NSW Greater Cities & Regional Sport Facility Grant in which the NSFA stated, “proposed total visits with a grandstand and facilities would increase by 36,489 individuals to the site annually”.
Residents were ignored and the DA was approved by the Ku-ring-gai Planning Panel on recommendation of staff. The NSFA propose to fund the construction of the building, but it is unclear as to who will be responsible for its maintenance. The approval of the DA means the NSFA can now apply for a Sports Grant. Any Memorandum of Understanding between council and NSFA will be critical to financial implications on rate payers and use of the facility.
This process has broken the trust of North Turramurra Residents with council. The peninsula remains without a passive recreation area despite having contributed to its funding for years.