Health Impact Assessment Parramatta Stadium Development

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Step 1- Screening Parramatta Stadium 

Proposal application SSD 7534 ‘Western Sydney Stadium’ is a staged development of 11-13 O’Connell Street Parramatta. This includes the demolition of Pirtex Stadium and Parramatta Aquatic Centre. The aquatic centre is currently located on Crown land.

The second stage of the development includes the construction of a larger 30,000 seat stadium, indoor recreation centre and 1500 space car park. This is scheduled for completion in 2019 (NSW Government Planning and Environment 2016).

The pictures contain maps of the focus area and design proposal. (NSW Government Planning and Environment 2016)

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Parramatta Pool was originally built with public funds and therefore owned by the community. It was renovated in 2008 for $9.5million (City of Parramatta Council 2016). It is home to numerous swim and water polo sporting clubs, and learn-to-swim programs, in operation all year round, for adults and children.

Western Sydney Stadium development is estimated to cost approximately $959,195,647 (Gary Mayor 2016), which will be funded by taxpayers. The replacement value of the pool is estimated to be $40million, however no commitment or proposal has been made by the state or local government to provide the community with a new pool (City of Parramatta Council 2006).

Parramatta proposal context & history

The construction of a new stadium in Parramatta has been the topic of discussion for NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and neighboring sporting club, Parramatta Leagues, and football team Parramatta Eels, for a number of years.

Initially, the closing of Parramatta pool was announced and celebrated by the Parramatta Eels players in the media (Dean Ritchie 2015), before the proposal was drafted and put forward for consultation.

Since the initial media publication, announcing the aquatic center closure, there has been a social movement to ‘Save Parramatta Pool’ (North Parramatta Residents Action Group 2016).

What health determinants this proposal engages

  • The built environment
  • The natural environment
  • Cultural and historical environment
  • Living conditions
  • Economic loss of a service
  • Healthy child development
  • Social and community networks
  • Physical activity, learning and play environment
  • Capacity of alternate recreational facilities to cater for the community
  • Health care system will likely be affected due to the removal of a recreational service

The assumptions that underlie the proposal


  • People will use the new stadium as a center for recreation, in substitution for the pool.
  • The aquatic center cannot be accommodated within the design of the new stadium.
  • The stadium will not have an impact on the environment and traffic flow, noting the area is already congested on a daily basis and during Pirtex Stadium events.
  • Another pool will be built in another area with public funds. However, no commitment has been made to fund the relocation of the pool. (North Parramatta Residents Action Group 2016)
  • A newly built stadium facility will encourage sports participation and community engagement.

Potential to impact on health

The population of Western Sydney was 1,923,698 in 2014 and it’s estimated to grow by 1.8% over the next 20years. (CEDA 2016) This means there is a growing need to provide recreational areas for physical activity and the meeting of social and community groups.

In Australia, 62.8% of adults are overweight or obese. Since 1995, the trend has been that weight is slowly increasing over time. (ABS 2011-12) One of the main contributors to obesity and other chronic metabolic diseases is lack of physical activity.

It’s estimated that 56% of Australian adults are either inactive or have low levels of physical activity – that’s is more than 9.5 million adults. One of the contributing factors to poor levels of physical activity is access to facilities and areas for recreation and physical activity. (Australian Government Department of Health 2014)

Demolition of the pool will directly impact the cardiovascular fitness and therefore metabolic health of a significant number of adults and children who currently use the pool.

In addition, the pool closure is likely to cause psychological distress from loss of place. It is also a memorial pool that provides ANZAC Day services – a significant part of Australian culture. It is situated in a landscape that has historical meaning to Aboriginal people, and holds historical and heritage listed buildings from the Colonial period.

Potential positive impacts

  • Provide additional jobs to service the stadium
  • Increase the economic input to Parramatta and local businesses in the area
  • Provide additional cafés and spaces of leisure
  • Improve public transport facilities in Parramatta

Potential negative impacts

  • Reduce residential access to affordable physical activity and place of recreation
  • Increased traffic congestion and subsequent air pollution
  • Noise and vibration, causing sleep disturbances when the stadium is in use (NSW Government Planning and Environment 2016)
  • Increase in the incidence of on-street alcohol fuelled violence, when the stadium is in use
  • Loss of social ties for local aquatic sporting teams and residents
  • Destruction of the visual landscape of historical and cultural significance
  • Environmental consequences of demolition and discarding of building remains to landfill and use of natural resources to rebuild
  • Damage to native fauna and impact of native flora within Parramatta River and Parramatta Park

Potential intended consequences

  • Increased state government revenue
  • Increase revenue for local football clubs
  • Rezoning Parramatta CBD, allowing additional sky rises in historically sensitive areas, increasing local and state government revenue
  • Increasing the value of housing and land within the surrounding areas

Potential unintended consequences

  • Sleep disturbance in local residence, due to noise pollution when stadium is in use
  • Solastalgia experienced by local Aboriginal people from loss of place, which may result in psychological and mental health problems from feeling of helplessness
  • Increasing morbidity and mortality in the local area due to physical inactivity
  • Increased burden on the health care system, due to inactivity and mental health

Sources of information for identifying the nature and extent of the impacts on health for this proposal

There is a large amount of information that can be used to explore the health impacts of The Western Sydney Stadium proposal, including:

  • Previously drafted EIA (environmental impact assessment) on the NSW development website. (NSW Government Planning and Environment 2016)
  • Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Various government department publications
  • International research studies on environmental health and human health
  • Media articles
  • Parramatta community groups documents and submissions

List the groups most likely to be affected by this proposal

  • Daurg Aboriginal people of Parramatta (Parramatta Park Trust. 2015-2016)
  • War veterans
  • The local residence of Parramatta
  • Disabled people
  • Lower income earners
  • Children attending nearby schools
  • Young families with children
  • People who live alone

Potential equity issues

The outcomes of this proposal will unequally be distributed by:

  • Economic wealth and power, which will be unequally distributed to football clubs, pubs and clubs, local and state governments.
  • Geographic inequity, residence location to the stadium. Those that live within a 1km radius of the new stadium will be exposed to increased traffic and pedestrian congestion. May result in higher rates of air pollution, noise, vibration and potential for alcohol fuelled violence.
  • Socioeconomic status. Western Sydney suburbs have areas of economic disadvantage, which have higher rates of obesity and poor health (Medicare local Parramatta 2014). Removing the pool will remove affordable access to physical activity services.
  • People who want to locate closer to Parramatta, for work and personal reasons. Housing prices will increase with the new developments. It will preclude people on lower incomes from locating to Parramatta. This will include young families and people with disabilities.
  • The removal of the pool will be adverse to those with physical disability, who use and rely the pool for rehabilitation and fitness.
  • For the Aboriginal people of Parramatta and war veterans, it will unfairly target a place that holds sentimental and historical importance to cultural heritage and sense of self-identity.
  • It will unfairly target aquatic sporting communities that have been well established for more than 20years. This will impact learning, socialising and competition opportunities of adults and children.
  • It will impact youth and their water safety education, increasing their risk of being non-swimmers and potentially drowning. It will also decrease the ability to create social ties with other children in the local community.
  • Procedural inequity due to local residence and pool users concerns being ignored by the state and local government.

Recommendation for going ahead with an HIA for this proposal

  • There is documented evidence in the existing EIA that this proposal will negatively impact local aquatic groups and residence.
  • The EIA does not acknowledge the health implications of this proposal on the people who currently use the pool. It also fails to adequately describe the loss of place that may be experienced by Aboriginal people and war veterans.
  • The current EIA ignored key community stakeholders, namely those involved with pool services and those who use the facilities. Favouring stakeholders who are predicted to make a significant financial and power gain from this project.
  • There is no commitment made by the government to replace the pool once demolished.
  • The new stadium will encroach on land owned by the Parramatta Park Trust (Parramatta Park Trust 2015-2016), which needs to be negotiated through the community and approved.
  • A HIA has not been conducted on this project.
  • Parramatta Community Group is looking for professional volunteers to aid in compiling their own alternative proposal to allow the pool to be incorporated into the design of the new stadium and surrounds. This will include the use of this HIA.

Step 2- Scoping

Suggested steering committee

Members of the steering committee should include representatives of all the major stakeholders that will be affected or involved in the proposal. This will include people who have in-depth knowledge of the historical nature of the environment, health implications and have the most to gain and lose from this project.

Name Stakeholder relationship Reason for inclusion
Suellen Fitzgerald Board of Trustees Parramatta Park Trust Park Director. As the Park Director Suellen will have in-depth knowledge of the historical nature of the environment and surrounds. She will be able to advise on the use of parklands and boundary lines for commercial use.
Suzette Meade President of North Parramatta Residents Action Group, and member of the Parramatta City Council Heritage Advisory Committee Suzette is a third generation resident of Parramatta, she is also the leader in the social movement to save the pool and historical landscape of Parramatta.
To be announced Elder or active representative of Darug Aboriginal people of Parramatta. The Darug people are historical occupants of the Parramatta area. They have the most to lose from the redevelopment of their homelands.
Max Donnelly Chairman of Parramatta Eels Football Club Major economic stakeholder of this development
Bevan Paul President of Parramatta Leagues Club Major economic stakeholder of this development
Lynda Voltz or representative

 

NSW Shadow Minister for Sports & Veterans Affairs Lynda will be able to provide knowledge on the historical connection veterans have to Parramatta Aquatic Centre and how demolition will affect their well-being. She will be able to adequately represent the existing aquatic-based sports groups.
Dr Patrick Harris Expert in health and public policy Senior research fellow at University of Sydney, Menzies Centre for Health Policy
Mike Baird or representative NSW Premier Major economic stakeholder of this development
To be announced Representative from the Department of planning and Infrastructure Provide detail on traffic and street congestion, estimates on pollution and how redevelopment will affect the community in regards to the natural and built environment. 


Terms of reference Table 1

Health “health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important world-wide social goal whose realization requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector. “ (WHO 1978)
Focus area Includes 11-13 O’Connell Street Parramatta site
Stakeholder A person who has vested interest or concern in something.
Solastalgia When people feel a sense of loss, due to negative changes of their environment, whilst still living there. People feel a connection to their place, and when it is taken away they feel a sense of loss. This can be the cause of psychological distress. (Conner L 2004)
Equity Equity means social justice and fairness. Equity eliminates systematic differences between people. (Braveman P 2003)

 

 

At what level will the EF-HIA be undertaken

This HIA will consist of a desk-based review of the Western Sydney Stadium proposal. Due to the magnitude of such a proposal and lack of scope (time and resource allocation) to review all stakeholder interests, only major equity considerations in relation to human health will be outlined in this initial review.

Impacts that will be assessed

  • Impact on physical activity
  • Impact on psycho-social sense of place and link to health
  • Impact on alcohol fueled violence

What types of evidence will be used

  • Peer reviewed scientific journal papers
  • Government documents, submissions and data
  • Existing environmental assessment
  • Existing HIAs
  • Stakeholder submissions
  • Media articles and releases
  • Community groups, website articles and social media news

Step 3- Impact Identification

Community profile

Population City of Parramatta (2011 census data) 230,167 Male 97,304

Female 96,717

Population density (persons per hectare) 27.48
Median age 33.7
Expected growth by 2038 397,339 (68.17%)
Percentage of households of couples with children 36%
Proportion of the population who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. 0.8%

(Source: Profile.id 2015) 

Impact Assessment Relevant Data Australia Parramatta
Weekly median household income (ABS 2011-12) $918 $1314
Rate of unemployment (ABS 2011-12) 5.6% 5.94%
Incidence of alcohol fueled violence (S.Briscoe 2001)

·      Total number of assaults

·      Percentage of assaults due to alcohol

 

60,142
23%

 

1,607
15%

Population by who are physically inactive (DA.Cadilhac 2011, Medicare local Parramatta 2014) 60-70% 37.2%
Population affected by obesity (ABS 2011-12, Medicare local Parramatta 2014) 62.8% 58.5%
Population affected by childhood obesity (A.Lcokeridge 2015) 23% Not available

 

Health profile of Parramatta

Parramatta is the second largest CBD in NSW. It is comprised of predominantly residential and commercial land use. Certain areas of Parramatta Council area are considered of socioeconomic disadvantage. There is a social gradient that exists within Parramatta between suburbs. (Medicare local Parramatta 2014)

There are 1402 Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders living in Parramatta. This marginalised group often suffer poorer health outcomes than non-indigenous people. Indigenous people have 1.9 times the mortality rate and 3.4 times the rate of diabetes than non-indigenous people. (Medicare local Parramatta 2014)

Disadvantage in South Parramatta is partly due to unemployment rates sitting at 7.1%, compared to 3.6% in Greater Western Sydney. (Medicare local Parramatta 2014) Unemployment and living off benefits has significant impacts on health. It affects a person’s ability to access medical care, purchase medication, healthy food and participate in physical activity.

Parramatta’s population consists of a range of cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The top three countries include: India 8.2%, China 6.8% and Lebanon 3.8%. (Medicare local Parramatta 2014)

Due to this culture mix, areas of socio-economic disadvantage and physical inactivity, chronic diseases, such as a type 2 diabetes, are a significant problem. Diabetes affects 4% of the population in Parramatta, which is the highest affected area in Greater Western Sydney. (Medicare local Parramatta 2014)

What is known about the impacts affecting the focus area?

Impact physical activity  

Physical activity is any form of movement the body exerts that requires energy. This includes structured movement like sports, recreation and leisure activities.

There are many benefits of physical activity and it should not be viewed as just a weight loss tool for prevention of obesity. Physical activity has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis and reduce depression and anxiety (WHO 2010, D.Warburton 2006)

According to ABS data, 2011-12, 57% of all Australians are inactive or have very low levels of physical activity. It’s predicted that if there was a 10% rise in the level physical activity, this would lead to a national saving of $258million within the health sector (DA.Cadilhac 2011). Sedentary lifestyles place a large burden on health care system.

Children are also affected by these abysmal statistics. Overweight children have been found to have lower rates of physical activity compared to their normal weight peers (Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Food and Grocery Council Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2007)

The rate of participation in sports and physical activity is influenced by many health determinants, which include geographic location and access to recreational infrastructures, affordability of participation, educational level, gender, disability and culture. Swimming is a non-contact, non-gendered sport. It is suitable for those with varying disease and disability conditions, due to buoyancy, placing less stress and strain on joints and the body.

Research into urban design and the built environment suggests design can easily promote or disengage physical activity. There are ways in which the Australian Government can promote higher levels of physical activity, including the design of neighbourhoods with appropriate walking and cycle paths, and affordable recreational facilities (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence 2008).

In a qualitative study by H.Thomson 2003, closure of a local swimming pool had a significant impact on physical activity levels of low socioeconomic community members. When the pool was removed, there was no alternative affordable service. People were less likely to leave their home because of reduced feelings of safety and therefore did not exercise.

Although outcomes of this behaviour haven’t been measured, theoretically this could have negative impact on disease rates if people exercised less. In addition, it would affect those living alone and isolated, by having fewer opportunities to interact with the community.

Closure of Parramatta pool in particular would leave aqua based sporting clubs without a place to train and socialise, breaking down these existing social ties and physical activity opportunities.

There is a large assumption that a new stadium in Parramatta will increase sports and physical activity participation through hosting large sporting events. It is also thought that an increase in sports participation will improve other factors such as social capital, tourism to the area, new and improved facilities, housing development, community pride and a feel good factor. (Wicker, P. & Sotiriadou P. 2015)

The belief that elite sports can inspire individuals to take up exercise via the trickle-down effect has been proven to be incorrect in observational research. A new stadium does not increase physical activity or sports participation in those who do not exercise. Watching large sporting matches spires those who watch it, who have played sport before to start playing sport again, switch sporting disciplines or play more sport more frequently. (Wicker, P. & Sotiriadou P. 2015).

Considering the above outcomes in sports participation, a new stadium improves the lives of a small minority of already privileged stakeholders. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2010) the highest rate of attendance of spectator sports are males 15 to 17years (58%). Attendance rates decrease with age (23% >65years). Sporting games attract higher income earners with higher education levels and who have full-time employment (55%).

Low socio-economic populations have lower attendance rates because of lack of affordability, making this proposal highly inequitable considering the distribution of wealth, or lack there of, in pockets of Parramatta and surrounding suburbs. In addition, this will not inspire more children to play sport thus having little effect on obesity rates in the future.

A sports stadium in itself does not create an environment for physical activity. Metabolic equivalents (MET) are a way in which exercise intensity can be described as per given exercise. As a spectator at a sporting match sitting in a grandstand, this activity would be equivalent to 1.5MET. For health and fitness benefits it is recommended that 3-5.9METs be completed on a daily basis for a minimum of 60minutes. (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2016).

In addition to lack of physical activity, fast food is also traditionally available at sporting events, this could encourage patrons to engage in poor eating behaviours further contributing to their risk of chronic health conditions. There has been no proposal thus far to have healthy food outlets and menus at the stadium, which if implemented would work to mitigate this risk.

Demolishing a state of the art pool that people use is a guaranteed way to reduce physical activity, break socially cohesive sporting groups that currently use the pool and divide the community.

At the present moment the city of Parramatta is not the only council to propose the closure of their pool. The newly merged Holroyd Council under the State government council administrators has recently announced the potential closure of two additional pools, Wentworthville and Guilford, due to a reduction in use. Note Parramatta pool has not had a reduction in patronage. These two pools are located approximately within 5km from Parramatta. (J.Roberston 2016)

This is inequitable, to remove facilities from Western Sydney, an area that contains a large majority of people who are economically disadvantaged.

On a national level $2,300.2 million dollars where spent in 2008 in public health promotion. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008) Part of this funding went to health related initiatives to reduce chronic disease burden, childhood and adult obesity. Some of which include The Get Healthy Service (NSW Get Healthy Service 2016), which is telephonic based service that uses health professionals to talk about exercise to members of the public. Others services include educational physical activity programs such as Go 4 Fun (NSW Ministry of Health, 2013), which pays professionals to run physical activity programs for children to reduce childhood obesity.

Some of this spending can be redirected into marketing the benefits and implementing aqua base programs for adults and children in local pools. Reducing the need for health professional and encouraging community engagement. This would encourage use of the pool and provide additional revenue to the council through increased patronage, and savings to the state government in reduction in healthcare spending. Education about physical activity is useless without the facilities to support physical activity.

Impact – link between health and place 

The link between health and place has not been widely explored, however there have been documented cases where the removal of a place has created negative impacts on health. The removal of Parramatta pool has the potential to replicate the following findings.

In Glasgow the removal of a community pool had a profound impact on psycho-social issues that affected the entire community and surrounding areas. (H.Thomson 2003)

Although a pool is typically identified as a space for physical activity, the data showed that the pool was an important place for facilitation of social contact with neighbours and friends across the community. It allowed people to escape social disadvantage, by improving social connections. In doing this, it was found to reduce stress and social isolation across all age groups, which was then linked back to positive mental health outcomes.

The removal of the pool affected the greater community, not just the people who used the pool. Affects included changes to the neighbourhood surrounding and visual aesthetics, changes to views on public safety and perceptions about abandonment and lack of control on the area. Closure of the pool meant youth had nowhere to go, so instead, youth started to spend more time on the streets. (H.Thomson 2003)

The pool closure represented the lack of community power and control regarding their space and living conditions. It was a symbol that the local council had forgotten about its people.

A similar feeling can be felt in the Parramatta area with the perceived lack of action from the council made to save the pool or replace it before it is demolished. There is a feeling of distrust from the community towards the state government due to the after-the-fact consultation process that has taken place (Lisa Vinsetin 2016). The announcement of the pool closure occurred months prior to the consultation process began (Dean Ritchie 2015)

The state government has not listened to the pleas of community members, to keep the aquatic centre or to build a new pool before the current pool is demolished. To date there has also been no funding allocated to this this project. (City of Parramatta Council 2006)

Impact of alcohol fuelled violence

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their home and community. Everyone has a right to walk on the street and be safe. Violence is a concern in Australian sport for spectators and people in the vicinity of the sporting event. There is documented evidence that there is a relationship between reported incidences of violence related to sporting matches and alcohol intake. (A.Morgan 2009)

Physical contact sports, like football, promote violence and aggression. Contact sports attract large crowds of mainly young males. Alcohol consumption among young people is typified by frequent episodes of binge drinking, and heavy drinking has been shown to be associated with aggression and violence (A.Morgan 2009, S.Wells 2003).

What often results is a highly aggressive environment of fan rivalry, leading to alcohol related violence. Historically, in Australia and overseas, there have been countless incidents of injuries from violence between spectators at sporting matches that have made national news (B. Wenn 1989). Alcohol related incidence is more likely when both the perpetrator and victim are intoxicated. (A.Morgan 2009).

Alcohol related violence puts a strain on our already-stretched police force. It is estimated that 10% of police time in Australia is spent dealing with alcohol related violence incidents, commonly involving assaults. (A.Morgan 2009). This has been estimated at $747million annually (A.Morgan 2009). In Parramatta, alcohol related violence accounts for 15% of all assaults; Parramatta City does not need increased access for youth to drink. (S.Briscoe 2001)

Building a new alcohol licenced stadium, has the potential to decrease the safety of Parramatta City for patrons visiting local cafes and restaurants, and for the residence. It puts children and adults at risk of alcohol related violence.

Step 4- Assessment of impacts

Impact physical activity

The largest group of people who will be affected by the closure of Parramatta pool is children. The pool is used by more than 30 primary and secondary schools and has approximately 200,000 visits per year. (NSW Government Planning and Environment 2016)

School physical activity programs have shown to improve positive physical and clinical outcomes in children. (WHO 2009) Currently, schools use the pool for learn-to-swim programs, swimming carnivals and weekly sports day programs. The closure of the pool will cause a complete cease on all of these activities, as other pool facilities are located more than 20 minutes away by vehicle, are not suitable for such activities, and are already completely booked for the summer seasons.

Governments have a responsibility to ensure that all areas of the Australian community have access to safe physical activity opportunities. It is important to make physical activity choices easy, safe, convenient and enjoyable so that people seek out opportunities to engage in physical activity. This is especially true for young children, who obesity is affecting the most.

Children who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of being obese adults and place themselves at a higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes at a younger age. (A Lockeridge 2015)

Governments have a responsibility to ensure that, in planning and development of communities, accessibility and affordability of recreational services are considered. This is so that those who live in economic disadvantage have equitable access to opportunities for physical activity. 

Impact- link between health and place

Parramatta is a high-density residential area, with residential growth predominantly occurring due to large multistorey apartment blocks in the compact CBD area. Parramatta attracts young families with children, who will have limited choices nearby to play and escape apartment life.

Parramatta also has a high density of single people living alone, where community facilities such as a pool helps to break social isolation and gives them a place to meet and talk with other people. The removal of the pool will decrease services to local residence and remove a place that provides opportunities for social connection, which could lead to a decline in mental health of the community.

Impact alcohol fuelled violence

The focus area has been put forth as a new entertainment area – the central part of the new Parramatta CBD. If it goes ahead, it will become a popular location for socialising under the influence of alcohol, particularly amongst young people. (A.Morgan 2009).

This places local residence at risk of becoming exposed to alcohol fuelled violence, which will compromise their feelings of safety and community.

The focus area will have a liquor licence, with the capacity to service 30,000 football fans. In Australia, 40% of all assaults occur near a licensed venue, including sporting clubs, pubs and hotels. Under the current stadium proposal intoxicated fans will have no choice but to dissipate into the already congested streets of Parramatta. This includes walking through busy restaurant and residential areas, and places of work. This will increase the potential for on street violence.

NSW Government has laws against violence and riots due to spectators within sporting games. The NSW Government recommends the following  (B.Wenn 1989):

  • A restriction on the sale of alcohol at sporting grounds;
  • The creation of alcohol-free family areas at major venues

Both of which the current stadium proposal fails to take into consideration. Currently, at Pitrex Stadium, Parramatta police are present on the street en mass controlling crowds and traffic around the stadium and surrounding areas. A 30,000 seat stadium will require more police presence, and more traffic control measures, to ensure the safety of local residence and restaurant patrons.

Parramatta has always been a family friendly city, with Parramatta Park containing a large kids playground directly opposite the focus area. The focus area is adjacent to two schools and a nearby preschool, all of which have not been consulted as stakeholders during the proposal development. This is despite alcohol fuelled violence potentially affecting their schools, their safety and the popular busy streets of Parramatta.

Step 5- HIA Conclusion & Recommendations

The closure of Parramatta Pool is an inequitable proposition for the community. It is the centre of learning for youth and families. It provides a place of recreation, physical activity and social community engagement. It will disadvantage children in the Parramatta area because they will not have access to the pool as a learning facility, to learn how to swim. It may cause higher rates of physical inactivity, leading to chronic disease in children and adults.

There will be psycho-social issues surrounding the sense of, loss of control and place. This will become more pronounced as new developments in Parramatta attracts more people and but less opportunities to connect. Places need to be developed to help integrate people into communities to aid their mental health.

Furthermore, the addition of a fully licenced stadium also comes with problems. There is potential to compromise the safety of local residence and visiting patrons to the area.

Due to these reasons, and many more not addressed in this HIA, it is recommended that the following recommendations be considered in the planning of Parramatta City.

  1. Completion of a comprehensive HIA is recommended. Due to the scale of the proposed focus area, there are a multitude of impacts on human health that have not been addressed in this HIA or the EIA previously completed. Appropriate consultation should be made with all stakeholders, including pool patrons. Australia has a long history of procedural inequity, whereby the state government refuses to consider the communities concerns regarding health, in exchange for creating economic growth and state revenue. (N.Higginbotham 2010) This is appalling and misguided as the health care cost associated with reduced physical activity, mental health and alcohol fuelled violence is significant.
  1. The football club should engage in negotiations for use of Olympic Stadium in Home Bush, for home games, if larger crowds are expected. It is approximately a 15-20 minute drive and highly accessible for fans via public transport. This requires no additional funding from taxpayers and allows already existing venues to be utilised more frequently.
  1. The state government should consider redesigning the focus area to include the Parramatta Aquatic Centre as part of the design. This will reduce the need to waste taxpayers’ money on the demolition of the renovated pool and reduce the impact on the environment by minimising landfill waste. This can be done by removing the car park out of the design plans and providing more efficient modes of public transport to shuttle crowds to and from the venue.
  1. Consider the relocation of the stadium away from a densely populated residential and traffic-congested zone, to an alternate location such as Rosehill Race Course or the Speedway along the M4 corridor. This will reduce the impact of noise, vibration and air pollution, reduce the incidence of on street alcohol fuelled violence and preserve the community pool and historical surroundings.
  1. Should the proposal of the closure of Aquatic Centre proceed there should be control measures to mitigate alcohol fuelled violence. Alcohol free zones should be in place around the stadium zone and surrounding streets. There should be reductions on the strength of the alcohol sold at the venue and ample police presence around the stadium and surrounding streets to protect local residence. The problem of alcohol fuelled violence should be the focus of an HIA in itself.
  1. In addition, an alternate community pool should be constructed well before the Aquatic Centre is demolished. This will provide an alternative venue for residence to perform physical activity and engage socially, minimising the impact on physical and mental health.

References

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  • Brian Wenn. Violence in sport Australian Institute of Criminology Canberra. Accessed 22/9/16. Updated 22/9/2009. Website
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