What is the proposal?

    The proposal is to install lights at Nightcliff Oval on the corner of Camphor St and Oleander St in Nightcliff. The proposal includes the installation of four light poles to achieve a maximum brightness of 200 lux in the centre of the oval. The poles would be 32m high and fabricated from steel.  The recommended system utilises metal halide luminaires.  There will be 48 luminaires per pole, each with a glare shield and rear visor to prevent unwanted light spill to surrounding areas. The lights will have a control system so that they can be switched to the required lux level, for example they will be switch to 100lux for training.

    Why are lights needed?

    More people are playing Aussie Rules football than ever before, with the Territory recording 42,196 participants in 2016. More than 13,000 women now play AFL across the Territory, that’s a year-on year increase of 23%. Junior participation is also growing, with 7,134 kids playing football in 2016. Cricket tells a similar story, with 27,100 players in 2016 – up a massive 194% from 9,221 in 2009. Current facilities are not able to cope with this growth in their current form. The absence of lights on sports ovals restricts the amount of time they can be used for training and matches. There are limited opportunities for new open space areas to be created and as a result we need to investigate opportunities to better utilise our current fields. Darwin needs more room to grow local sports and this can be achieved by lighting existing facilities. Darwin’s climate also presents challenges to our sports players with heat related illness an issue. Lighting Nightcliff Oval will open the facility to night training and games, provide the opportunity to grow local sports and allow play to occur in cooler, safer and more enjoyable conditions. Lights could also provide an opportunity for other non-sport related community events to be held at Nightcliff Oval.

    How often will the lights be used?

    As the main users of the oval, Nightcliff Football Club and Nightcliff Cricket Club have indicated the following times the lights would be used:





    6 – 9pm*

    100LUX (training)


    6 – 9pm

    100LUX (training)


    6 – 9pm

    100LUX (training)


    6 – 9pm

    100LUX (training)


    6 – 9.30pm

    200LUX (Wet Season football game)


    6 – 9.30pm

    200 LUX (Wet Season football game)


    Occasional Use**

    *It is expected that from Monday to Thursday the lights will often be off by 8pm, however this table indicates the latest possible time that the lights will be used. **There may be an occasional junior twilight match, with lights used until 8pm at the latest.

    How will Council make sure the lights aren’t used past the indicated times?

    The times indicated above will become part of the Seasonal Oval Allocations Agreement with the sports clubs. All clubs must adhere to the Agreement to be able to use Council facilities.

    What will the lit oval look like?

    The lighting design carefully considers impacts on surrounding residential areas. The proposed light fittings include a glare shield and rear visor to prevent unwanted light spill and comply with Australian Standards AS4282 – Control of the Obtrusive Effects of Outdoor Lighting. 

    Are there any similar lights in Darwin to look at to compare?

    Malak Oval (Malak Crescent, Malak) has 100 lux lighting installed with metal halide luminaires and the poles are 28m high. Larrakia Park (Abala Rd, Marrara) has 200 lux lighting  with metal halide luminaires, the poles are 22m high.

    How will it be funded?

    Northern Territory Government has committed $3.5M for City of Darwin to light sports ovals in 2017/18 and 2018/19 under the Urban and Regional Oval Lights Program. These funds will pay for the lights at Nightcliff Oval should the project proceed. 

    Who will pay for the operational costs of the lights?

    A user pays control system would be installed near the clubhouse. This system will allow the users to switch the lights to the required lux level. 

    Who will pay for the ongoing maintenance of the lights?

    City of Darwin will own the lights and will pay the ongoing maintenance costs.

    Why have these ovals been chosen rather than others in Darwin?

    Council developed the Sports Field Plan 2016-2026 to guide the future use, development and management of sporting fields and ovals. Sports field lighting was identified as a key infrastructure item to play an increasingly important role in accommodating additional uses, managing allocations and maximising participation opportunities. The Sports Field Plan categorises Council’s ovals into Regional, District and Local level ovals. The category based management system defines facility maintenance, service levels and infrastructure development. Council’s only Regional level oval is Gardens Oval 1; this facility has been built and maintained at a premier standard for competition and training. A lighting proposal for this oval is currently being developed. In order to maximise the capital investment required to light sporting fields, there is a strong case to prioritise District level fields due to their higher use, the variety of sports they accommodate and their ability to host both training and competition use.  When considering other District venues, Malak Oval already has lighting installed, and Kahlin Oval is used exclusively for cricket predominately in the Dry Season. Therefore, Bagot and Nightcliff ovals are preferential for consideration given both their geographic distribution and variety of use.

    Does this proposal result in any impacts to traffic and parking?

    It is not expected that night training will impact on parking around the ground. There is sufficient car parking to cater for all people attending training sessions. Night games will attract larger crowds, which are expected to be a similar size crowd to the attendance at normal weekend games at the moment. 

    Will it attract more people to the local area resulting in noise, rubbish and anti-social behaviour issues?

    There is not expected to be a lot of change to the area on nights when training is on. There will be more people in the area when night games are on. City of Darwin Seasonal Oval Allocations Agreement provides conditions of use which clubs must adhere to. It has the following key points: 
     ·  Facilities will only be allocated to clubs with sound governance structures; open membership for men, women and juniors; elected committees and a demonstrated commitment to social responsibility. 
     ·  Bookings may not be shared without the express written prior approval of Council.  
     ·  Failure to comply with any of these terms may jeopardise the Hirer’s current (and/or future) booking/s.  
     ·  Any costs incurred by Council as a result of non-compliance will be recovered from the Hirer.
     ·  Any Clubs intending to sell alcohol are required to seek permission from Council and hold a current Liquor Licence, issued by the Director-General. 
     ·  Council will require a Level 2 Good Sports accreditation for all special continuing liquor licences from 2018. 
     ·  Organisations are required to collect and remove from the venue all litter introduced onto the oval and/or its surrounding areas and facilities at the end of each training or competition session. 
     ·  If the facility is left in an untidy state or condition to the determination of a Council Officer, cleaning charges and an administration fee will apply, as set out in Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.
    City of Darwin will work with the Clubs to ensure these conditions are adhered to.

    What is lux?

    The term lux is the typical measurement of illuminance used in various Australian Standards and Building Codes to determine the light levels for different areas and uses. As a comparison, office lighting is generally between 350 to 400lux. 

    Who makes the decision about whether the lights can be installed at Nightcliff Oval?

    As a Council-owned facility, City of Darwin is responsible for deciding whether to approve the proposal and proceed with a development application. 

    What happens next?

    A report will be presented to Council following the consultation which will outline the feedback received, and this will be made publicly available. The consultation outcomes will assist Council in making a decision on whether to approve the proposal to light Nightcliff Oval.

    What is happening with the proposal to light Gardens Oval 1?

    Following community consultation Council provided in principle support for the lighting proposal to enable AFL NT and NT Cricket to develop detailed design, documentation and cost estimates. Council endorsed that the key concerns of the community as identified in the Council Report be taken into consideration in the planning and design process. A further report will be presented to Council to provide the detailed design, documentation and cost.