Hi,

With regards to cycling advocacy, I have always signed the petitions and supported the leaders  but this time council struck too close to home and I need to take up the fight, but I don’t know how.

I am a member of a social soccer game (zero profit) that meets every Saturday in North Sydney for a kick and a beer afterwards. There are 28 adults that play, it is organised through meetup.com (feel free to join us)

North Sydney council has caught wind of this recently and has shut us down. First the rangers kicked us off a sports oval because according to them we are an organised game therefore we have to pay to hire a sports ground.

We then went to a public park (St Leonards Park) and they harassed us again even though on their website they state you don’t need a permit on a public park for a gathering of less than 60 people.  No mention of playing sports.

End of the day, the council wants us to book a sports ground, $250 for a couple hours, it is nothing more than a money grab as far as I can see.

Is there anything I can do here? I am thinking State MP and  media but how effective is it? Is it worth fighting this?

Thanks,

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28 of you versus a couple of rangers.

You guys should have gone all zombie apocalypse on them!

On the one hand I can see their point.  A game of football will chew up the turf to some extent (depending on the weather) and councils spend a lot of money re-turfing, watering, mowing, etc.  On the other hand we would like to think that the community can maintain a space where a bunch of folk can kick a ball around without notice. 

User pays is the catch cry these days.  We have a council by election happening right now, and the candidates are all promising to forecome rate rises by 'maximising revenue from council assets'.  It's popular! (apparently).

Usual promise is 'maximising revenue from council assets' while maintaining, even extending, free parking for all residents.

User-pays is, of course, the fairest way to ration scarce resources but it seldom applies to motorists and their space-intensive parking needs. Anyone seen Willoughby Leisure Centre environs on netball mornings? Horrific!

But to address your question directly, if there are 28, or more, of you, $250 dollars would be less than $10 per head per week, so a couple of coffees (or beers). Too much? I suppose you'd need to add a bit of bureaucracy to book the ground but surely not too onerous if shared around as well? (Sorry.)

...so a couple of coffees (or beers)...

Hockeynomics? What does a middy cost in North Sydney?

Percy's
292 Miller St
North Sydney NSW 2060
Permanently closed

Although the next question is how is one group of 20 people playing together for an hour any more damaging that two people playing for ten, or four groups of five playing on a quarter of the area each for an hour?

Meanwhile car drivers can gather in large numbers in council-provided car parks and pay much less than $250 for the privilege - in fact often it's free for the first three hours!

Perhaps dig up their by-laws or print out the web page so you have some physical evidence on you to support you being there next time you're challenged, and if they want to dig their heels in you'll have more to come back with. Being arrested for playing in a park would make an interesting headline, if you're prepared to go that far that is.

I think so, and maybe a little bit of a look into trespass too.

Of course, the if the key to their claim is being organised, then not being organised would be helpful. This is how critical mass functions: it's not an organised ride, there's no actual organiser.

Keep playing in the park.  If they have nothing to charge you with then you are all good.  Call their bluff.  Tell them to call the police if they have an issue.

Hmm, I see quite a few of the schools from North Sydney using St Leonards Park for mid week practice and I doubt they would do the 250$ for a few hours each week.

I would guess it is all about public liability. Maybe start a small charity and ask again?

If they try to move you on refuse to go. Short of calling the cops what can they do?

You should contact your local councillor's and have a chat.

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