ACTION AT LAST – OPENING UP THE CAULFIELD RACECOURSE

Four years on from the Auditor General’s report we finally see some real action on the opening up of the Caulfield Racecourse.

Within 5 years,  training facilities (tracks and stabling), located on the Reserve’s Crown Land, will be removed and the huge centre of the reserve opened up for public recreation and park usage.

As always information is scant and there are loads of major questions re what this actually means for public usage (staged implementation, development and funding of facilities) vs. those areas of Reserve to be leased for 65 years ( leasing arrangements ie areas, lease fees, terms and conditions).

A huge break, though how huge remains to be seen.  Unfortunately there are many public $’s being directed to Racing, rather than public usage, and another 65 years (up from 21 years) before any “next” break through.

MEDIA RELEASE  

Monday, 22 October 2018

INVESTING IN WORLD-CLASS RACING FACILITIES

The Andrews Labor Government is building new infrastructure and creating hundreds of new jobs at the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Clubs as part of a major boost for racing in Victoria.

Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced a $17.5 million investment to create new facilities at both the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Club as part of a $40.1 million joint funding package.

Thoroughbred training at the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve will be relocated over the next five years, to open up the reserve for greater public access and recreational use.

The Labor Government will invest more than $6 million at the Cranbourne Training Complex for the construction of additional stabling, an inside grass track, an equine pool and tunnel upgrades to accommodate additional horses.

More than $8 million will also go to the Pakenham Racing club for new stabling, new uphill grass and synthetic tracks and an additional equine pool. The project will accommodate an additional 600 horse boxes and create up to 200 new jobs during construction, with a total economic impact estimated to be more than $250 million.

Racing Victoria and the Melbourne Racing Club will contribute $22.6 million towards the project. Works at both facilities will begin immediately, to help relocations which may begin from mid-2020. Trainers will have up to five years to relocate from their existing facilities at Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The Government has approved a long-term lease between Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and the Melbourne Racing Club to increase recreational opportunities and secure horse racing at the reserve for another 65 years.

As part of this, the Government will provide an additional $1 million to support the Trust to develop a long-term land use plan for the site, to open up the space and balance the needs of residents, racing stakeholders and community groups.

The Trust will develop a three year corporate plan that will set out the strategic direction and management of the reserve in close consultation with the local community.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing Martin Pakula

“We’re investing in world-class facilities for the future at the Cranbourne Training Complex and Pakenham Racing Club to ensure that Victoria remains the premier racing state.”

“These new facilities will create hundreds of new jobs, provide a major economic boost for the racing industry and help ensure thoroughbred racing in Victoria keeps pace with international standards.”  

Quote attributable to Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio

“Through our legislation and the new long-term lease, we’re delivering on our commitment to establish a strong future for a more accessible Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.”

 Quote attributable to Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera

“Thoroughbred racing is a vital part of our community and this major investment will provide local jobs and ensure these facilities remain world class for years to come.”

 

 

 

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ELSTERNWICK – RESIDENTIAL DRUG REHABILITATION CENTRE

We’ve been asked by a group of concerned Elsternwick residents to draw the community’s attention to a retrospective planning permit application to operate a residential* Drug Rehabilitation Centre on the former Daily Planet Brothel site – 7-12 Horne Street, Elsternwick.

The site, recently acquired by a developer, has been let and is currently  operating as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  Residents have advised that initially Council Officers felt (mistakenly in GERA’s view) that the site’s zoning of Commercial 1 did not require a planning permit for use as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  However, the below significant issues, raised by residents since the centre commenced operating many months ago, has resulted in a Council “re-think”.  Hence the permit (Application No. GE/CP-32039/2018) now being sought for the already operating centre.

The residents, who are currently lobbying Councillors and seeking residents support, have clearly indicated to GERA that they are not objecting to an accredited drug rehabilitation centre operating at this location.  Rather they are

  • questioning and objecting to the adequacy of the centre’s current facilities and security provisions given the nature of the services offered
  • asking that the current permit application be rejected and current operations cease.
  • seeking assurances that, should a future similar permit application be received,  appropriate facilities and security provisions are provided and the due planning approval process is followed, prior to the commencement of operations.

For those interested in supporting the residents, please note that

  • a Planning Conference will be held on 22/10/2018 at 6.30 pm in the Town Hall Theatrette. Objections may be submitted at any time prior to the Conference
  • Council is scheduled to discuss and decide the application at the 7/11/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.

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RESIDENT’S COMMENTS

  • There was no letterbox drop. Supposedly this meets planning regulations. We are disappointed by this and we believe the community is not fully aware of what is going on around them, but are not questioning this part of the Act.
  • Council are letting them operate without a permit and were allowed to continue to do so whilst they undertook the application process. Rules for some, different for others.
  • Some of our neighbours have been given a ‘tour’ of the facility when it opened its doors WITHOUT a permit many months ago, the general consensus was that residents who attended were greatly concerned with the lack of information provided on who the operators were, what credentials they had to run a facility like this, and what safety measures would be put in place for both surrounding and internal residents. Amongst the many aspects of the venues operations, we were informed:
    • The centre is an operational drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic.
    • Patients have moved in will live on site for up to 3 months (24/7).
    • The centre appears as a brothel and we question whether it is actually ‘habitable’.
    • They will accept anyone from heavy drug addicts (ice, heroine, MDMA, cocaine, etc) alcoholics, physiological problems to relationship issues. Such a range of conditions would require a very broad range of expert care.
    • Their application proposes 1-2 staff for every 6 patients.
    • Patients would be prescribed drugs whilst they are living on the premises and would be walking the local streets to collect these drugs themselves from the chemist.
    • Patients would be accessing the building from all possible entrances/exits (including the alley ways which access residential properties). They are free to come and go as they please.
    • No renovation work had happened inside as of June 2018, and we suspect this is still the case (directors mentioned lack of funds and no construction vehicles have been seen in the area since). It sill presents as the brothel once did (I am told and assume having never been in a brothel before). Soft furnishings still remain ( I understand they have acquired much of the furniture off the brothel), images of naked women adorned the walls, the bedrooms were kitted out with multiple beds and fully operational spa baths, mirrors etc. Not the type of environment we would have assumed would be conducive to rehabilitating patients?!
    • They have signed a 5 year lease. They implied the business had been set up by 3-4 individuals. They would not provide any clarity around who they were, what experience or qualifications (if any) they had. The ‘deal’ was proposed by one of the brothel staffers who ‘knew’ all the relevant parties and ‘set up the deal’ in his words. He still works there as of June 2018.  
    • Patients will pay $10k per month.
    • They could not clarify what security would be put in place. They said there were operational camera’s already installed however the only camera down the alleyway that accesses residential property has been seen disconnected and is facing a roof.
    • Residents and business owners have already noted windows have been smashed since the business opened and the number of ‘questionable characters’ hovering and walking the local streets and laneways has markedly increased with some residents experiencing disputes erupting from the premises that made them feel incredibly unsafe.
    • We understand that this type of establishment has very few rules/regulations around its operations.
    • Certain residents have been informed that this specific organisation is recruiting its patients from the outside the courts – offenders waiting for trial and wanting to seek bail must be enrolled into a centre like this one which will keep them out of jail.     

We appreciate the history of this site has been an interesting one but are seriously concerned with the type of clientele this facility is attracting and the lack of transparency and professionalism shown by the staff/operators.

 We would like the community to be aware of what is occurring at the ‘Daily Wellness Centre’

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UPDATE – 15/10/2018

One of our facebook readers has added the below link to our page.  It’s a 2016 Four Corners program on the private rehabilitation industry in Australia – the reader comments that very little has changed since the program aired.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/rehab-inc.-promo/7827128

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Footnote:

Residential = estimated duration of stays 2 – 12 weeks

MEET THE NEW TRUSTEES OF THE CAULFIELD RACECOURSE RESERVE

This posting serves as a reminder to those who were notified of the below Information Session and to extend the invitation to attend to others interested redressing Glen Eira and Stonnington’s chronic shortage of parkland and sporting facilities.

 

 BACKGROUND

As per the 2014 Auditor General’s Report, due to poor management of Reserve (the former Trust) and lack of oversight (by successive State Governments) has enabled its racing purpose to dominate the Reserve’s 54 hectares to the detriment of its public park and recreation purposes.

Current usage arrangements, have not changed from those outlined in the 2014 Report* and while the wheels of Government have moved slowly they have moved.  In September 2017, on the recommendation of a bipartisan working group legislation was introduced to

  • abolish the previous trust ( a Restrictive Trust) and establish a new trust framework, and
  • establish a transparent and modern governance model for the Reserve management.

 While it’s still “early days”,  the Information Session is the first step in a long process that gives the community an unprecedented opportunity for input into ensuring future Reserve usage recognizes and serves the needs of the community.

 INVITATION

The newly appointed (1st August, 2018) Trustees of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve have committed to holding three to four community information sessions a year plus an annual public meeting to engage and be transparent with the community about the management of the reserve.

Below is an invitation to the first community information session to be held on 4 October 2018 at the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

The meeting will discuss the priorities the Trust has set for the next twelve months; including appointing a Chief Executive Officer and developing a land management plan, so come along meet the new trustees and ask questions.

Register your attendance via the link at the bottom of the above invitation and please circulate amongst your community.

Please note:   An alternate registration link is   Community Information Session: Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.

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Footnote:

 As per the 2014 AG’s report (which remains unchanged) usage of the Reserve’s 54 ha (valued in 2014 as $2bn) is

  • 11 hectares (20%) is under lease for racing purposes.  The Annual rental of $170K is generally returned to the MRC for racing related projects.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used for racing purposes without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement, and
  • only 6 hectares (11%) is available as open space for the potential use of the community. That 6 ha comprises facilities that do not meet the needs of community, are not easy to physically access and are subject to restricted usage times.  No similar accessibility issues and time restrictions are applicable to racing usage.

TREE PROTECTION – PROGRESS OR NOT?

Unfortunately we have encountered a glitch which we are working to over come.

As a tantilizer the post’s introduction is

While GERA is encouraged by Item 9.7 “Community Feedback on the Implementation of a Classified Tree Register” in tonight’s Council agenda that encouragement is not without reservations.. 

“GERA recognises the current 2016-2020 Council’s intention of highlighting and addressing the long, chequered (on/off, non-transparent and contrary to community views expressed in endorsed community plans), yet GERA sees no reason in the Officers Report that acknowledges

  • Glen Eira’s status as the only Metro Melbourne Council without an effective significant protection policy and
  • Tree Protection measures are included in the current Planning Scheme.
  • Data on 200 “valued trees”, as per Council is available.

Caulfield South – Planning Conference Abandoned

A remarkable turn of events at last night’s (2/7/2018) Planning Conference for a development at 2 Pearce Street, South Caulfield*.   Before the standard preliminaries were completed, the South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) and residents requested and voted to abandon the Planning Conference  with  Council agreeing to re-start the planning permit approval process.**

The major sticking point being that just prior (hours) before the Conference commenced, SCAG learnt that amended development plans had been submitted to Council (29/6/2018) and residents had not been advised of either the amended plans or their content.  Consequently, SCAG and residents objections would be based on plans that were no longer applicable.

Cr. Hyams (the Conference Chair), after advising that the changes were not considered significant, asked the Planning Officer to outline the changes.  The changes being

  • The basement car park had previously “protruded” (no specifics provided) into the garden area due to an interpretation of the Planning Minister ‘s garden area requirements by the developer. Clarification had been sought  from the  Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and resulted in changes that removed the protrusion.
  • Since the area is subject to an SBO, Melbourne Water had requested an increase in building height of 300mm/30 cm to elevate the ground floor level for flood mitigation purposes. Despite this height increase, the building height remained below the maximum height limit (11m) for the General Residential Zone (GRZ).

Summarised residents comments are

  • that the area, originally developed for workers cottages, is typified by lot sizes of 750 sqm resulting in approx. a metre separating individual dwellings.  The proposed changes could have implications for more properties than those immediately abutting the development.
  • residents had, in a short time, undertaken a very steep planning learning curve to come to grips with both the GE’s planning scheme and the plans presented. They should be given sufficient time to review the changes and assess their implications – to ask them to do so based on the scant information presented  was to ask them to make a compromise they should not be asked to make.
  • Given that the planning permit application was lodged with Council 25/01/2018, their request for time to review and assess the implications of both changes (drainage and already significant overshadowing on adjoining properties) was in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 (Part 1 a – Local Government Charter, Section 3c – e & g) and reasonable .

GERA congratulates SCAG and residents for their well presented arguments and maintaining an amicable meeting.   We also congratulate Council for acceding to the residents request.

As an aside, after the decision to abandon the Conference had been made, discussions continued.   SCAG members,  commented that very few of the approx. 300 local residents they had contacted were aware that in 2013 their area had been zoned GRZ1 or GRZ2 (ie. suitable for 3 storey multi-unit developments).    This discussion between the residents and Cr. Hyams will be the topic of a subsequent post.

The South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) can be contacted via email:  scag.sthcaulfield.action.group@gmail.com

 

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Footnotes:

*3 stories, comprising 5 dwellings above basement car parking and waiver of visitor car parking.  Lot size is 750 sqm and the lot is subject to a Special Building Overlay (SBO – area prone to storm water overflow and flooding)

**  Since the development is not considered to be “major”, the 60 day time Council decision time line is not applicable, hence, Council can “re-start” the approval process.

Caulfield South Activity Centre – Community Gathering 27/06/2018

 

IMPORTANT MEETING

7 pm tomorrow, Wednesday 27/6

The South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) have invited our State MP, Mr David Southwick, together with our Camden Ward Councillors,  Joel Silver and Dan Sztrajt, to hear our stories. They need to understand why we signed the petition.

Now is the time for our voices to be heard. We need to demonstrate that there are many people concerned about the future of Caulfield South Neighbourhood Centre.

For further information and meeting details please email:  scag.sthcaulfield.action.group@gmail.com

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GERA was recently contacted by residents opposing a 3 storey (5 dwellings above basement car parking) development proposal in Pearce Street, Caulfield South.  However, as they “dug deeper” the residents not only learnt a lot about GE’s Planning inadequacies but also became increasingly concerned about

  • the lack of residents awareness of planning issues,
  • Caulfield South’s current and future development proposals and
  • possible upgrading of the Caulfield South Activity Centre from being a Neighbourhood (“lesser”) Centre to that of an Emerging Major Activity Centre.  SCAG feedback indicates that planning officers believe the upgrade has already occurred.

The South Caulfield Action Group’s formation has been highlighted by

  • lodging of a petition with Council for the implementation of a 2 storey height limit on small lots – 293 signatories and growing. A flyer depicting potential developments is attached.
  • Organizing the above meeting, to raise residents’ awareness of proposed planning changes and give the residents the opportunity to voice their views to those they have elected.
  • a determination to see residents views are duly considered with decisions that impact the South Caulfield Activity Centre are made.

Additional information prepared by SCAG

Comparative graphical presentation of ABS 2017-2018 Building Approvals – Glen Eira and other Metro Melbourne Councils.

GERA encourages residents to support this group and to attend the meeting.

 

Caulfield Station Precinct* Structure Planning – Community Workshop

“The Victorian Planning Authority is leading the preparation of a structure plan for the Caulfield Station Precinct, in partnership with Glen Eira City Council, Stonnington City Council, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Transport for Victoria (TfV).

 You are invited to share your thoughts and ideas about how to best shape the future of this place for the community by attending a Community Visioning Workshop.

The purpose of this workshop is to inform the community of the planning process and to seek views and input into the future of the area.

 Registrations are essential.   Light refreshments will be provided.”

Date: Wednesday 20 June 2018
Time: 6.30 – 9.00pm
Location: Monash University Caulfield, Ground Floor, Building H, Room H116 (Caulfield Campus Map)

GERA strongly urges both Glen Eira and Stonnington residents and recreational/sporting groups and clubs to attend this workshop  to get an understanding of what is being proposed and an awareness of it’s potential “flow on” impacts for surrounding areas.

We also encourage completing the VPA online survey.   

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This the first opportunity for the community input into the development of Structure Plans for the 122 ha Caulfield Station Precinct* and its surrounding areas since the VPA was appointed to lead the planning exercise in August, 2017.  At that time the VPA advised that

“Several key activities attract workers, residents and visitors to the area including Monash University’s Caulfield campus, Caulfield Racecourse, Glen Eira College, retail outlets, parks and recreational areas. The structure plan will promote transit-orientated development and identify opportunities for growth in employment, education, housing and associated activities. We will also work with the Melbourne Racing Club and our government partners to seek to unlock future shared recreational use of racecourse land.”

The initial information and input session focuses on the four core activity centre components and their connectivity within the precinct. The significant planning and development implications for Glen Eira (south of Dandenong Road) and Stonnington’s (north of Dandenong Road) surrounding commercial/residential areas and proximate activity centres are to be included in subsequent consultations.   Recent multi storey multi unit developments, along the northern side of Dandenong Road, indicate the development potential of the areas surrounding the precinct.

Briefly, the four core components of the Caulfield Station Precinct are

Caulfield Village

A major residential, retail and commercial development located between the Racecourse and the Rail Line. Currently under construction, it comprises

Worth noting is the redevelopment potential (multi-storey multi units) of MRC freehold land located along Kambrook/Booran Roads (shown on the above map as Horse Training and Stabling).  This potential was flagged during the Strategic Land Management consultations conducted by the former Reserve Trustees in 2015.  The current status of redevelopment plans is not known.

Monash University – Caulfield Campus

Unfortunately, 10 months into the Structure Planning  process,  little is known of the current redevelopment plans.  As an indicative guide, some years ago redevelopment included

  • an expansion from 10,000 Effective Fulltime Students (EFS) to 25,000 EFS.
  • Construction of a series of high rise buildings to provide educational and administrative facilities with some retail facilities at ground level.
  • Off campus multi storey student accommodation in close proximity to the Caulfield Campus

Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve

The Racecourse comprises 54 ha, of the 122 ha now designated the  Caulfield Station Precinct, and offers a significant open space opportunity for Glen Eira (which has the least per capita open space/parkland in Metro Melbourne, coming in at less than half the Metro average) and Stonnington (which has the 2nd least).  Both the size and location of this crown land make it suitable to service the recreational (passive and active) needs of the volumes (ie. residents, students, workers and patrons) expected to access the Precinct, as well as the needs of the increasing residents of the surrounding areas.   Striking an equitable balance between public recreational usage and racing usage has long been a contentious issue and recently resulted in changes to management of the land that have yet to come into effect.

Caulfield Station

While GERA is not aware of plans to redevelop the heritage listed Caulfield Station, we believe its redevelopment (presumably as a rail/tram/bus interchange) will be required to service the public transport needs of those accessing the Precinct.   When/if redevelopment occurs, it should include the “place making” historic Station and heritage listed buildings in Derby Road.

Connectivity of Core Components

Currently, the connectivity of the above core components is poor.  It is restricted by the extremely divisive railway line and a fragmented road network.   While access between Caulfield Village, the Racecourse and the Station is basically “across the street”,  accessing Monash from these locations is restricted to 3 underpasses ie. Queen Avenue, Caulfield Station and Station Street.    Free movement flows (predominantly pedestrian, with some vehicular movement for the provision of goods and services) within the Precinct is essential to enable synergetic development of precinct facilities (eg. auditoriums, open space and car parking)  and ensure the long term viability of a cohesive activity centre.

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Footnote:

*Caulfield Station Precinct – is the previous Priority Development Zone, known as the Phoenix Precinct (ie. Caulfield Village and Monash University Caulfield Campus) expanded to include the Caulfield Racecourse & Recreation Reserve, Glen Eira College and Glen Huntly Park.