BOORAN ROAD RESERVOIR CONCEPT PLANS CONSULTATION

Last Wednesday’s (13/6/2012) Booran Road Reservoir Concept Plans  Consultation gave residents the opportunity to confirm the views they expressed at the March, 2008 consultation (Friends of Glen Huntly Reservoir website – FOGHR) – this they did.   The majority of the 50+ attendees preferred the passive recreation option over the active or mixed options.

Booran Road Reservoir – Background

The Booran Road Reservoir (also known as the Glen Huntly Reservoir) is 1.6 ha of crown land located on the corner of Glen Huntly & Booran Roads, Glen Huntly.  The site shares a rear boundary with Alamar Ave and abuts nine properties along Roseberry Grove.

The reservoir has not been used to store water since the 1970’s.  The site was/is considered to be the last undeveloped piece of land in Glen Eira that can be reverted to publicly accessible open space. Around 2006/8,  the site was declared surplus to South East Water use and in 2010 it was  formally handed to Glen Eira Council by the State Government to manage* as publicly accessible open space.   In March, 2008, given the impending State Government handover, a community consultation was held to discuss proposed uses.   Council presented two options to residents: a) sell the land for development or b) convert the land to passive parkland with synthetic soccer pitch  – residents overwhelmingly voted for passive parkland. 

Booran Road Reservoir

Booran Road Reservoir Concept Plans Consultation

As previously mentioned, last Wednesday’s (13/6/2012) consultation confirmed the 2008 preference for the former reservoir to become passive recreation open space.

The plans presented were described, by the designer (Bill McLaughlin), as being “thoughts at the moment” and, although attendees were asked to indicate their preferred option (passive, active or mixed recreation) the consultation was not a forum to vote on the presented options – it was to gather attendees’ preferences so that they could be incorporated in future park plans. Paul Burke (Director of Community Services) explained that, while Council has budgeted for work to commence on the park in 2016/7, Council was commencing development of the plans well before this time so that the plans could be submitted should a government grant become available.

Given the well documented lack of public open space in the Glen Eira Municipality (a major issue which has continually featured in the Community Plan and the State Government’s Satisfaction Survey since the 1990’s), it is appalling that

  1. Some 4 years on from the initial consultation (or 2 years on from Council securing management responsibility* of the site in 2010)  Council is only now approaching the drawing board.  In November 2009 Council estimated that it would take approximately 2 years to complete construction/landscaping and commissioning of  the park**.
  2. A further 4 -5 years will pass before Council commences work on the park and that the work will take a further 2 years to complete. (Council Meeting Minutes 8th May 2008 – Strategic Resource Plan – 2017/18 budget is $4m, 2018/2019 budget is $3.5m).

That Council (Councillors and Administration) considers that the spending of multi-millions on under-utilized, parkland consuming pavilions is a better use of ratepayers funds than creating parkland (1.6 hectares) in an area targeted for high density mixed use developments does not affirm Council’s claim of reflecting the needs and wishes of residents.    What justification is there for leaving this “windfall” prime land a derelict, frequently vandalised, eyesore for the past 4 years and the next 4 – 5 years.

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* “manage” and “management responsibility” gives the land to Council to use and maintain for open space purposes yet retains State Government ownership of the land Council.  Thus preventing a sale, originally proposed in 2008, of the land by Council.

** Extract from Council Meeting Minutes, 24th November, 2009 – Section 8.9

There are 5 distinct phase in a major project like the converting the former Glen Huntly Reservoir to public open space:

1. Feasibility

2. Concept

3. Planning / Design

4. Construction

5. Commissioning

The project is currently in the feasibility phase. The Concept Phase will commence after Council has secured management responsibility over the land and determined how it would like to use it. Phases 2 to 5 are likely to take at least 2 years.

Note: Management responsibility was secured in 2010.

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The following is a summary of comments made by those who attended last Wednesdays Consultation and are similar to those made at the March, 2008 consultation (Comments from FOGHR ).  The community’s views have not changed. Council was aware of these views 4 years ago yet they failed to materialise in the draft design. Given council’s track record on consultation over design we are not optimistic that anything will be different this time!

Comments:

  • While residents accepted the presented plans as being conceptual they did note that the all three plans were flawed in that
    • Retention of the reservoir walls, to the extent that they are retained, raised serious security issues as they created dark hidden places
    • No car parking provision is included.  The area has very limited on street parking and already demand exceeds supply.
    • No picnic facilities or play ground included
    • Multi use of area’s not taken advantage of – active sports areas could also be used for farmer’s market, outdoor theatre etc.
  • Preference for passive recreation option
    • All three options raise traffic and parking issues in an already congested area, however, the extent of the congestion varies with the use – including active sporting facilities will concentrate that congestion at specific times.  Passive recreation will not concentrate congestion (more even flow of park usage).
    • Including active sporting facilities on the land will diminish the amount of land available for passive recreation by the need to include ancilliary amenities, e.g. change rooms
    • Glen Eira has few passive recreation areas – how much need is there for another sporting facility
    • Passive recreation  use means park will be usable for the maximum number of residents – from the very young to the aged
  • Facilities to be included in plan
    • Community Garden
    • Facilities for family recreation (BBQ’s, picnic area, playground)
    • Jogging and walking tracks around park perimeter
    • Native tree planting with informative plaques
  • Other

Trees currently surrounding the site need attention now.  Tree maintenance undertaken now will generate a 5/6 year head start for the proposed park.

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