Turf war erupts at football field
A turf war has erupted between an Ellerslie football club and a neighbouring resident.
David Shen, whose house borders Michaels Ave Reserve, has started a campaign to stop crumb rubber being used in artificial sports fields.
Crumb rubber is recycled rubber produced from car and truck tyres.
Shen claims crumb rubber poses a health risk to users, and has hung banners from his property fence and put fliers in letterboxes warning residents of its dangers.
He took his case to Parliament with a petition, and spent eight days in the Environment Court to get the field removed.
However, Ellerslie AFC, which is based at Michaels Ave Reserve, said Shen was scaremongering parents and residents.
‘‘With current evidence, there’s nothing to suggest using these fields increases health risks,’’ Ellerslie AFC communications manager Tim Adams said.
‘‘He’s trying to scaremonger. He’s using examples from overseas that have been disproven and he’s targeting morning games on Saturday when there are a lot of kids.’’
The real problem was with Auckland Council, which had failed to address Shen’s accusations and concerns, he said.
‘‘We’re just a user of a council field. If it is true, we don’t want our players to be exposed to that anyway, so we want the council to step up and actually respond to the guys claims.’’
In 2013, Auckland Council sought independent testing because no New Zealand studies on crumb rubber used as infill existed.
It followed this up with a twoyear water and air quality research project, which both passed international standards.
Auckland Council’s sports parks advisor Grant Jennings said it was aware of Shen’s protest but assured users the fields were safe.
‘‘Since research has indicated the rubber does not pose a threat to health, safety or the environment, we therefore cannot justify the cost to remove the rubber infill.’’
In response, council will send an information pack to the club with the research details on the infill product to dissipate fears being raised by the banners.
Shen did not respond requests to be interviewed. to
Michaels Ave Reserve artificial turf was built in 2012.