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Footy fence farce

March 10, 2015

fence When the so-called and flawed public “consultation”  was undertaken last year about the installation of a fence around the playing area at Unley Oval, one  reason given by Sturt Football Club was the danger from the concrete drain.  A danger, incidentally, unsupported by any evidence from the club of injuries sustained by any player.

Which raises the question…if there HAS been any danger, why are those pesky pickets being erected OUTSIDE the drain, laying the boys in blue open to a double dose of damage? Hit the concrete and bounce into the metal fence…

Also a point of concern had been  the fact that the public was assured on more than one occasion that when the fencing was in place they would still be able to circle the area outside the fence at all times other than SANFL games.

Until a short time ago, that would have eventually been  impossible, given that the southern section of the picket is hard up against the bowling club boundary, compounded by the presence of the trainers’ shed. Now, thankfully, as a compromise brokered by Grumpy and Councillor Rufus Salaman, it has been agreed that the public WILL, just west of the southern goal area, be able to stray onto the grass for a matter of forty metres even while the boys in double blue are training.  

Meantime, I have been told by a councillor that he distinctly remembers that the idea was to site the fence posts IN the drain , which would have given the fence more stability. As it is the gap between the base of the fence and the edge of the drain varies, and in some places it will not be possible to use a mower.

As a pessimistic footnote, Grumpy is giving VERY short odds on the possibility/probability of, in the not-too-distant future,  a footy push for a return to the bad old days when the outer perimeter of the whole of the Unley Oval area was permanently fenced, walled and barb-wired against public access. The return of Stalag Luft Sturt…

Watch this space and let’s hope I am being unnecessarily pessimistic.






6 Comments leave one →
  1. T Love permalink
    March 10, 2015 2:13 pm

    Is this a case of a “so called and flawed” public consultation held to “tick the box” to justify proceeding with a pre-determined outcome?

    Don’t let it happen again with the public consultation proposed in respect of the Part B report envisaging major works to Brownhill Creek through Unley and Mitcham which proposes installing infrastructure in the creek and the removal of many trees and much vegetation bordering the creek through private yards and public parks,
    This being considered on a basis of cheapest cost compared to other options, with the costing for the works estimated and based on a “concept” with no detailed plans of the works actually to be carried out.
    Directly affected residents are fobbed of by “the project” with comments that no details of the works proposed can be provided as they are apparently unknown at this point, yet somehow “the project” can be sure the plan is the cheapest!!

    The Part B report has been written with many restraints and encumbrances, such that the conclusion was almost “directed”., “The project” was effectively instructed to ignore the technically superior, least disruptive for the community and cheaper scenarios that offer a similar level of flood mitigation outcomes, previously recommended by truly INDEPENDENT EXPERTS in several reports.

    The proposed “consultation” must present the alternative scenarios for comment by the community. It must include the option of a detention dam (doesn’t hold water permanently) OUTSIDE the Brownhill Creek Recreation Park and show the reduced works (described as significant by “the project”) that this scenario would require to the creek-line through Unley and Mitcham.

    Please ensure that this “public consultation” will be genuine and not “so called and flawed” as well.


    • cllrmikehudson permalink*
      March 10, 2015 6:16 pm

      I have always been in favour of a dam well up-stream from the caravan park. As for the result of the “consultation” I would like to think that it did not come down to a vote, as happened with the Unley Oval pickets.


  2. Unley Oval fence is an insult permalink
    March 10, 2015 11:19 pm

    The community consultation around the picket fence at Unley Oval is a text book example of predetermining the outcome and designing a process to fit.

    Here are the steps to follow using the Unley Oval fence as an example:

    The predetermined outcome; getting a fence in place for the benefit of the Sturt Football Club.

    Step 1
    Dream up some reasons to have a fence. Make them vague but possibly palatable to the community. Offer no substantiation to illustrate the issues raised. Treat your ratepayers with the contempt they obviously deserve.

    Step 2
    Send a single hard copy letter to 1800 residents in the vicinity of the oval, don’t personalise it. Don’t make it too easy for residents to respond to this letter. All they need to do is find the time to sit down and write a letter, perhaps by hand, or turn on their computer, find the Unley Council website, find the Your Say site.

    Step 3
    Sit back and watch while the Sturt Football Club, the only beneficiary of the fence, make direct contact with their loyal supporter base of ~3500 people by email. Watch Sturt appeal to their supporters to have their say about the fence and give them the link so they can do it immediately. 2 clicks and they can have their say. Watch as the Club repeats this exercise multiple times during the consultation period so their supporter base are contacted by the football club more than 20,000 times. Keep watching as Sturt post 7 articles on their Facebook news feed, during the consultation period, reaching out to their supporters over 10,000 times, again providing the link. 2 clicks and the loyal supporter can have their say.

    Step 4
    Analyse the submissions. And what a surprise! There are more people in favour of the fence than those who are not in favour. Write a report pointing this out to the Council members. Briefly mention what Sturt have done but in a way that does not cause anyone to question the integrity of the process. You would not want anyone questioning the inequity in the numbers of stakeholders contacted by Council in comparison to Sturt, the methods of communication, and the effect that it has had. Just say something like….. Sturt reached out to their members during the consultation.

    Step 5
    Let the Councillors consider the report and vote on the matter. Ignore the fact that 2 Councillors have not been able to look at the submissions which have conveniently gone missing from the Members room. Let them see that ~30 more people want the fence than don’t want the fence. Press ahead with the vote. Defend the integrity of the process

    Step 6
    Put the fence in. Further insult your community by making it higher than what you told people it would be. Block off access at the bowls club to people who want to walk or run around the outside of the picket fence. Leave the gutters exposed because they are really not the hazard to footballers the Sturt Football Club and Council made it out to be. Hope the community gets used to the diminished amenity of the oval for the casual user.

    Step 7
    Either ignore or dismiss any future request or complaint about Unley Oval by anyone other than the Sturt Football Club (in which case acquiesce to whatever they want). Repeat Step 7 as often as necessary.


  3. YoungerSlightlyGrumpy permalink
    March 11, 2015 11:15 am

    The consultation lasted a month and was heavily promoted. At the conclusion of which a total of 91 Unley Residents registered their opposition. A not insignificant number but no tsunami of discontent either, as was being foretold by some in the area. The dire fate supposedly awaiting the pro fence Councilors at the November ballot box proved to be a chimera as well.
    I respect there are a variety of views on this but when the proposal was properly tested, it had community support. No amount of overblown language will change this. I agree though that the construction of them has been odd, ie why not on the drainage?


    • Unley Oval fence is an insult to the community permalink
      March 11, 2015 9:05 pm

      You are right, YoungerSilghtlyGrumy, it was heavily promoted but not by the Council, by the Sturt Football Club. The outcome was guaranteed. Your suggestion that the proposal was properly tested is simply nonsense.


  4. YoungerSlightlyGrumpy permalink
    March 13, 2015 7:57 am

    It would be remarkable if any sentinent person in Unley, with an interest in the oval, or even remotely engaged with the issue, didn’t know the consultation was on. There was also an anti fence group that letter boxed the area.
    Any motivated person, either for or against, would have had little difficulty in participating.
    We’ll have to agree to disagree I think.


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