Albrecht oval lights a boon for sport, town: Cricket boss

2549 Albrecht lights OK

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Bruce Walker, the leading cricket administrator in the NT, is making a case for flood lights at Albrecht Oval. He says it is used by football as well as cricket, alongside locals from people doing tai chi to walking their dog.

 

The project, in general terms, dates back more than eight years. Late last year residents near the Albrecht oval were invited to comment through a letterbox drop and advertising.

 

However, only two residents and one coach turned up to the first meeting, attended by six council officers, four councillors and one consultant engineer, according to council CEO Rex Mooney.

 

No residents turned up for the second meeting.

 

Yet there is now a “level of interest” which Mr Mooney thinks has been triggered by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics advertising an application for an Exceptional Development Permit.

 

It is needed because at 34.5 metres, the proposed four towers would exceed the height limit in the area. (The Traeger Park light towers are 52 meters.)

 

The deadline for public submissions is June 15.

 

Lighting was initially raised in the master plan for sporting facilities in 2010, “particularly for winter training such as soccer and AFL as well as summer competitions and training, including athletics,” says the council’s acting director of Technical Services, Stephen Baloban.

 

Last year the NT Government agreed to match the council’s $600,000 budget for the Albrecht project, making its total estimated cost $1.2m, says Mr Mooney.

 

2549 Albrecht Gardens oval OKHowever, Dr Walker says now a petition is being circulated to knock the project on the head, on the grounds of light spill and obstruction of the view to the MacDonnell Ranges.

 

But there are significant advantages for the town and its economy as well as the sports people who use the facility, says Dr Walker.

 

“If we want to attract people to Alice Springs we need to be able to offer attractive sporting options,” says Dr Walker.

 

“Being able to play your sport after hours and out of the midday sun is increasingly important.

 

Both football and cricket could extend their games and training into the early evening hours particularly as global warming makes more of the daylight unsuitable.”

 

Dr Walker says many ovals around the country are erecting lights for that reason, attracting new residents and sporting events.

 

There are four ovals in Darwin having or getting flood lighting, and in Queensland where towns will compete with Alice Springs as destinations to hold national events.

 

The National Indigenous Cricket Championship (NICC) brings 500 people into town for 10 days in February each year.  Being able to play evening fixtures at Albrecht Oval would provide a significant boost to be able to grow the event and the towns economy.

 

Dr Walker says that we will struggle to retain the national carnival without additional lighting to that which is available at Traeger Park.

 

He says: “I appreciate some people may be concerned because it is difficult to imagine what the towers might look like and how much light they will distribute.

 

“Light spill is a problem. Expressed in lux, the Albrecht towers would be designed to provide 750 lux at the very centre of the oval to begin with but this would reduce to around 600 once the lights are bedded in.

 

“A common mistake in community consultations of this sort is to just reduce the lighting level to a compromised value because ultimately the lights are not sufficient for safe usage and the investment is wasted.

 

“Football needs less light than cricket because they use a larger ball but in order to get the best efficiency out of the facility it needs to be able to cater for all users all year round.

 

“Most importantly, new technology manages to concentrate the light on the playing field, and very little spills.”

 

There is a 2 lux perimeter spill (see aerial photo) – none of it reaching into “the back yards”.

 

Dr Walker says a computer screen emits 30 to 50 lux. The highest level of spill (10 lux) falls on the open stormwater drain at the back of the oval.

 

The lights would be used infrequently, he says. For example, the Traeger lights are only used over six weekends on Saturday nights from late November to mid December, then six nights in mid February for the NICC.

 

Albrecht Oval is the only other oval in Alice Springs that is suitable for the level of lighting required and the quality of the playing facilities, particularly the turf wicket.

 

There are about 3000 sport participants registered with the council as using municipal playing fields.

 

Dr Walker says a third of them are AFL and cricket players using Albrecht at some time.

 

He is surprised about the recent opposition: “I would have thought residents would welcome the extended use of their community facility, given the investment already made in the car parking and community hall.”

 

Dr Walker is the president of both the Alice Springs and the NT cricket associations.

 

IMAGES: Aerial photo of the Albrecht oval and surrounds. The concentric lines show the light spill in lux. The red one denotes the 2 lux spill, followed (going outwards) 0.5, 0.1 and 0.1 lux. Dr Walker says a computer screen emits 30 to 50 lux •  The AFL Northern Territory started this petition to Darwin City Council, under the motto “get our NT kids out of the heat, give them lights at Gardens to play”. The online campaign says: “817 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000.”

 

 

UPDATE June 15:

 

This image was provided by Simon whose reader’s comment is published below.

 

2550 Albrecht lights OK

 

 

 

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9 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Laurence
    Posted June 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Wonderful to hear from you Simon. Good to know that you don’t care about anyone but yourself or is that just how you come across. Sorry to disappoint but I’m not feral enough to live on the Old Eastside but by reading your tirade you certainly have all the prerequisites for that suburb e.g. whiny and self-indulgent.
    I love your referencing of the Gardens Oval in Darwin. I can’t remember seeing any housing nearby or is it the Casino that you are worried about, perhaps it’s the amphitheater.
    But I have to admit you have given all the readers a perfect example of what a NIMBY is. I just wonder if you complain to all and sundry if your neighbours leave their backyard lights on.

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  2. Mike
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Think the harshness of the light has already been covered in the plan from the minimal lux levels protruding into neighbouring households.
    Just an example of how the vision of the lights will flood the sky:
    • Light bank at 4.5m wide; vision from 150m would appear at a visual angle of 1.7 degrees.
    So noting a field of vision is effectively 120 degrees it would fill up less than 1.5% of you field of vision.
    • Pole at say 1.12m wide – 0.45 degrees. Let the rest of you do the maths.

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  3. Alex
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    To Simon:
    • Clearly the Berrimah Line doesn’t exist, as you seem extremely concerned and informed about happenings in Darwin. Thank you for caring about those poor Top-Enders and the plights they face.
    • It sounds like despite Alice Springs ratepayers not only knowing that council consultation always takes place for such projects, and that such consultation did actually take place and was sadly missed by those who don’t keep in touch about your neighbourhood happenings, the consultation meetings would only have been attended if the council had hand-delivered personalised, gilt-edged invitations and provided horse-drawn carriages to each meeting.
    Not to mention that the DCA process asked for submissions on this project as well, and didn’t get much at all.
    Take responsibility and admit that you weren’t paying attention until it was too late and are now making more noise than an old dunny door.
    • Pretty much EVERYTHING in Alice Springs can be seen from Anzac Hill, so that’s not actually an argument.
    Were you at the community consultation about Malanka’s, or the new courthouse, or is it truly a case of “Not In Simon’s Backyard”?
    • If you think Alice Springs Town Council, who wear the electricity costs, or the sporting organisations who themselves have to pay for over-time use of the oval lights at Traeger, can afford to run the Albrecht Oval lights every single evening then you need to do some research, or just get a grip. Or take your hand off it. Or something.
    • Do you complain about the crowds at Parrtjima loitering around the bus stop and the car park at Albrecht Oval at night? I don’t know how you cope with Living Waters holding events bringing all those pesky people to your neighbourhood. Maybe we should complain about those events on your behalf too!
    • In most towns and cities, people rejoice when local amenities (!) like sporting ovals are upgraded to provide more opportunity for their children to get outside into the fresh air, shade is erected to protect them from the sun, and more people come to frequent their businesses.
    Increased traffic also usually results in regular upgrading of infrastructure like roads, guttering and footpaths. But clearly this is less important than the view from your backyard.
    If you don’t like progress because you imagine (!) that it might mildly inconvenience you, please go live in a tent in the middle of the bush, and leave the rest of us to live and grow in our town. But make sure you consult with the Indigenous owners and the wildlife advocates before you set up your tent.

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  4. James T Smerk
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Well said Mike. Simon, I’m not hippy enough to live in old East Side and not rich enough to live on the far side of the moon.
    I have grown up and still live in Larapinta. I also love sport, community engagement and anything that will bring spending of government money to the area.
    I feel like this side of town is always forgotten about and has been slowly getting worse for about 15 years now.
    And if there is a chance of getting improved facilities I say bring it on!

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  5. Simon
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Mike, perhps you should acquaint yourself with the community consulaton process and report carried out for proposed Gardens Oval lights.
    This nine week, 50k community consultation process, and 176 page final report relates to proposed floodlighting which will be shorter, dimmer, five times further away from resdinces, and turned off earlier, at 9pm, instead of 10pm, than those proposed for Albrecht.
    Surely the residents of Larapinta deserve the same level of consultation, and the proposal the same level of scrutiny, than those in Darwin?
    Or is the Berimmah Line still in play?
    A positive outcome of this situation, given the current proposed relocation of Rugby from Anzac Hill (whcih I understand Rugby now agress with) via Town Council and NT Government continuing negotiations, could be the provision of an additional first class footy / cricket Oval at the new rugby home, within a new dedicated sports precinct, with lights, but located in a more suitable location where residents will not be detrimentally affected.
    This scenario would actually increase the number of ovals available for sports and take the pressure of Traeger and Albrecht, for the benefit of everyone.
    It would be a win win situation for all stakeholders over the long term.
    There’s also no room for exapnsion at Albrecht Oval. And the land zoning (PS) does not support further developing Albrecht into a smaller version of Traeger (OR).
    Ps.: The lighting I noted was Level 1, 750 lux (not 1750 lux).
    And what do you mean by my conflict of interest? I’m a Larapinta resident.

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  6. Mike
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Simon: Reading between the lines I assume you indirectly declared your conflict of interest. Just in reply to some of your points:
    • As you and Bruce have stated, there have been two attempts by ASTC for community consultation, and the DCA also provide the opportunity. I am not sure how far they are expected to extend? As well as letterbox drops, I have also seen it advertised in local newspapers and social media.
    • The Gardens Oval proposal currently has six households opposing, the closest of which is approximately 450 metres to the oval. Again it is a bit of a ‘not in my backyard’ issue
    • The plans clearly show the maximum lux level at 750 (in the middle of the oval) as opposed to the 1750 you have stated. With new LED technology, this dissipates to between one and two lux at the closest household, which is approximately street light illumination.
    • Traeger Park has 1500 lux. Towers are about 52m high as opposed to the proposed 34.5m at Albrecht.
    • There is a large carpark adjacent to Albrecht Oval.
    • Ross Park does not have appropriate sized ovals for cricket or football and effectively has no room for expansion. Albrecht oval was constructed about 20 years ago to service the needs of the Larapinta residents, and is a wonderful sporting facility.
    • ‘Sadadeen Oval’ at CDU does not has turf wicket and is not owned by Alice Springs town council.
    • If you have a look at how often the lights are used at Traeger Park (at most generally once per weekend) it is unrealistic that they will be on 365 days per year until 10 pm.
    Alice Springs punches well above its weight when if comes to hosting sporting events. Without the lights there is the real possibility of us losing events such as the National Indigenous Cricket Carnival (of which we can be seen as the spiritual home) and, with the plans to expand the change room facilities, also extends the possibility of attracting new events.
    Adelaide managed to quell the opposition to lights and new grandstands at the Adelaide Oval and have ended up with one of the greatest sporting facilities in the country.
    If the town is to further develop, we all need to start thinking of the greater good rather than how it will have a minor effect on the aesthetics of our surrounding area.

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  7. Simon
    Posted June 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Not sure where Laurence or James live, but would be surpirised if it was Larapinta, like myself.
    So, how brave of them for supporting a proposal which will detrimentally affect others, but perhaps not themselves!
    Perhaps some facts about the lights may be approriate / illuminating (excuse the pun):
    • The proposed Albrecht lights will be taller, brighter and five times closer to residences than those curently being considered by Darwin City Council (DCC) for Gardens Oval.
    The Gardens Oval proposal has been before DCC (the first step in the approval process prior to going to the DCA, where Albrecht is curntly at) since July 2017 and many concerns have been raised which still require addressing.
    I’m not sure why Bruce didn’t mention this current Gardens Oval sitaution in his comments above? And I am also surprised that he is “surprised about the recent opposition” given the very recent history of the very similar Gardens Oval proposal, for which The NT Cricket Association is a main proponent, and he is the President of the NTCA?). A decison to delay approval of the Gardens lights was made by DCC this very week.
    • The Gardens Oval lights proposal included a nine week, professionally delivered community consulation process via Darwin based consultancy firm True North Startegic Communications.
    The residents of Larapinta, or Alice Springs generally for that matter, did not have the courtesy of such a long and thorough consultation process. Local Larapinta residents were letter dropped by ASTC (how many is still disputed) on December 12 informing them of a meeting on December 14! Understandably only two people turned up, given the timeframe provided between the notice and the meeting, and the busy Xmas period.
    • A follow up consultation process was apparently carried out by AS Town Council in February, via the provision of a mobile signboard being erected near the new roundabout at the junction of Larapinta and Albrecht drives, for 24 hours, with apparently very little detail.
    The sign was on Albrecht Drive pointing west, and, from what I have been told, was practically impossible to read when driving past and also looking right for approaching Larapinta Drive traffic, as one would do. Are we surprised no one attended the second meeting??
    • The Albrecht oval lights provide the same Level 1, 750 lux lighting as Traeger Park. More than ANZAC Oval at 500 lux.
    • The proposed 34.5m high towers with 10.5m wide x 4.5m high light arrays are so large they will be seen from Anzac Hill!
    • The lights are currently stated to be used 365 days a year up till 10pm at night. This will generate incresed use, participants, spectators, noise and public nuisance / loitering at and around Albrecht Oval.
    • When the lights go out after an “international competion” event (as stated as being a need for these lights), where do spectators diseperse to if they have no transport? Into the surrounding residential area!
    • Yes, the lights will serously affect our views … otherwise known as “amenity”. The PS (Public Open Space) zone in which Albrecht Oval is located limits development to that, quote “which has minimal adverse impact (if any) on adjoining or nearby property”.
    Any fair minded person would be hard pressed not to accept that the 4 x 34.5m high towers + 10.5m x 4.5m light arrays atop, and the associated light spill / additional noise / loitering etc issues wich the lights will bring, WILL NOT have a serious impact on residentail amenity.
    Happy to have them put in an Oval near you Guys if you would prefer?
    Or Ross Park, where they were originally intended … but for the Eastside Residents Association that got them knocked back some years ago now.
    You wouldn’t live in Eastside would you?
    Laurence?
    James?
    Bruce?

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  8. Laurence
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I agree James but there will always be those narrow visioned few that believe their personal rights far outweigh something that could be for the greater good.

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  9. James T Smerk
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Can only be a good thing. That side of town has long been known as The Bronx. Good to see more investment in areas outside of the CBD. I feel like nowadays people are quick to object to any plans for improvement rather than thinking about the positives for the town.

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