Urgent Need for TRIAL of Proposed Gardens Oval Night Lighting

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With the current proposal for the installation of night lighting at Gardens Oval we request that a trial be conducted to determine the impact on the quality of life of ALL residing in the local area- both  -humans and wildlife.

The proposal for lights at Gardens Oval is not specific to training but for competition games which requires lighting to 600 lux with four 32metre towers (equivalent to a 10storey building) and 16 lights on each tower.

Marrara Sporting Stadium is a purpose- built venue with night light facilities already existing.

Additionally expenditure and plans are already underway for night lighting of sporting ovals throughout the Darwin suburbs which will enable evening training. This expands the venues available to many different sporting groups and this option effectively provides individual suburbs with a dedicated local facility rather than centralising all clubs to Gardens Oval.

The implications of the installation of these night lights at Gardens Oval and the proposed schedule of initially 6 nights a week must be fully investigated.

Gardens Oval is located adjacent to the Botanical Gardens and Mindil Beach Reserve which is the last remaining special natural green belt in the CBD and one of the few remaining significant green areas in Darwin city. This expanse of land is a multipurpose area with residents residing around the perimeter of this green zone area.

 All other ovals in Darwin are situated on ground level with the surrounding suburb and light spread at ground level does not impact on these homes. The difference with Gardens Oval it is located in a gully with the neighbouring residences located approximately 20 to 30 metres above the oval the light glare/spill into the horizon from the 32metre high towers will shine directly onto those residences and over the homes of a variety of wild life.  This is evident with the lights at TIO Stadium Marrara where those lights are visible to pilots coming in to land at Darwin Airport.

With lights of such high intensity and so close in proximity to the natural and wildlife habitat the environmental implications must be considered. The potential interference with nesting and night hunting could see some species move out of the area and will definitely effect the nocturnal habitat. With already an increasing level of land clearing for more residential and industrial lands, this would be detrimental to the survival of some species and environmentally reckless.

Light glare/spill which comes from this high lux of lighting could also affect the amenity and health of people living in the high-rise apartments that sit atop of the ridge.  An article by Stephen Wilkes from The Guardian stated; “Studies show that exposure to light after dusk is literally unnatural and may be detrimental to health’.

Further studies are investigating how changes in circadian rhythms could be linked with cancer. This is a major concern for the residents living in the area with the prospect of potential sleep disturbances and negative health concerns as a result of repeated exposure to night lighting.

At this time Darwin has no laws regarding light pollution for development and planning and it is essential that a trial be conducted to determine the future livability for those in proximity to night light pollution. A trial needs to be conducted to determine the actual impact of these changes to urban land use and the potential negative impacts on residential areas.