Monthly Archives: May 2016

CAMP MAGEE (a.k.a. Camp Caulfield) – OPEN UP THE RACECOURSE

Update 2/6/2016 – CAMP MAGEE TEMPORARILY HALTED

Camp Magee has been temporarily dismantled  – the magnitude of public and media attention generated by the “Bear” has been such, that the State Government is “more actively” progressing their review of the MRC’s occupation of the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve.

Therefore, Camp Magee and next Saturday’s wrap up session are now deferred to give the newly appointed Minister (Lily Ambrosio) time to assess the current situation and determine the best way forward.

The “Bear”, with his tent,  promises to return if required (something we hope doesn’t eventuate).

A big thank you to the “Bear”, the media and the public for their efforts in highlighting this significant issue.

For those of you who missed viewing the centre parkland while Jim was in residence,  don’t let that deter you from visiting the centre parkland.   It’s an awesome sight and a tremendous community asset that is under utilized by the community.

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Update 31/5/2016 – The Age 31/5/2016 – The Age

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GERA original posting – 28/5/2016 below

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Cr. Jim “Bear Grylls” Magee has set up a week long camp* on the 5584 sqm of neglected crown land  located near the Glen Eira Road roundabout.  This land was a major part of the infamous land swap and was to become parkland that provided visual and physical above ground pedestrian access to the public parkland in the centre of the racecourse.

The purpose of “Bear” Magee’s camp out is to highlight the inequitable racing vs public use of the Crown Land known as the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve and the need for Government action.  The camp out will end next Saturday (4/6/2016) at 1.00 p.m. with  a wrap up session attended by the  Minister responsible for the Reserve’s management (the newly appointed Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change – Lily D’Ambrosio), the Minister for Sport (John Eren) and various media representatives.   Residents are also urged to attend to show their support for the “opening up” of the Racecourse for public parkland usage.

* You can follow “Bear” Magee’s progress on Twitter

For those of you who don’t know, we re-iterate – the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve was created by a Crown Grant in 1858 with the grant being formally enacted in 1876.  Under that Grant and all subsequent legislation, the primely located Reserve has 3 separate yet equal purposes of racecourse, public park and public recreation ground (ie. 33% racing and 67% public usage).

As per the scathing Auditor General’s Report (September, 2014), since the late 1990s mismanagement by the Board of Trustees and lack of Governmental oversight, has resulted in the Reserve’s current 54 hectares (valued at $2 bn) having the following usages*

  • 11 hectares (20%), is leased by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) for a flat rate of approx. $170,000 p.a.   The lease revenue is paid to the Trustees who generally return it to the MRC to fund racing related projects (as opposed to parkland related projects).  All revenue derived from the commercial activities (including the Glasshouse Tabaret) held on the Reserve land is retained by the MRC.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement.
  • 6 hectares (11%) is open space for potential use by the community 328 days p.a. (ie. excluding racing – 27 days p.a. and major MRC commercial event days – 10 days p.a.) and during prescribed hours (ie. 10 am. to dusk).   The 6 ha is not visible from the surrounding streets, is difficult to physically access and comprises limited facilities that don’t meet park users’ needs.

* ie. 89% racing and 11% public usage

In short, the Auditor General’s Report (which concurred with the findings of the earlier 2008 Legislative Council Select Committee Report on Crown Land Management) found that the current Crown land management arrangements over the reserve are untenable from a public interest perspective  …. attention urgently required”.

21 months after the tabling of the AG’s report there’s been talk but little action on the part of the Government.  Meanwhile

  • the above usages and leasing arrangements remain in place, to the advantage of the MRC and the detriment of the public.
  • the centre of the racecourse, which is the area originally set aside for public usage, sits empty most days (except for the 27 race days and 10 major event days p.a. when it is used as a car park) and every evening after dusk
  • innumerable children and adults are unable to play sport or train within their own Municipality because demand far exceeds supply.

“Bear” Magee is asking, on behalf of residents, for the Reserve’s current inequitable usages to be aligned with the three separate yet equal purposes.  Undertaking a week long camp out (without any facilities) in Melbourne, in June, is no mean feat.     GERA thanks him for his efforts and is a strong supporter of the cause.  GERA also urges residents to show their support by

  • going to view what they are missing out on (by accessing the racecourse centre via the Glen Eira Road Tunnel), then stopping for a chat with “Bear” Magee afterwards, and
  • attending the camp out wrap up session next Saturday.

Finally, words of wisdom from the past

The Argus, 16th August, 1884 (8 years after Grown Grant was enacted).

Extract of a meeting between the  Minister of Lands (Mr. Tucker) and VATC (Victorian Amateur Turf Club, later became the MRC) re management of the reserve being vested in the VATC

 “It seemed to him (Mr. Tucker) that to agree to the proposals of the club would be to limit to some extent the right of the public to use the ground for the purposes for which it was originally reserved – namely, for recreation and a public park. … The vicinity of the Caulfield racecourse would no doubt soon be thickly populated, and the value of the reserve to the public would then be widely enhanced.   …  Mr. Tucker said he thought the public ought not to have to ask for permission to go on a public reserve. ”

28/5/2016 – Residents wanting to play sport at the Glen Eira Road Tunnel Entrance Gates

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2016 PLANNING SCHEME REVIEW – WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE

Council’s 2016 Planning Scheme Review offers residents the first opportunity to formally express their views on Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme since 2010.   GERA urges all residents to attend one of the 3 remaining Planning Review Sessions and/or lodge a written submission with Council (preferably both).  If you don’t take advantage of this current opportunity to comment on the “relevance and applicability of all Glen Eira’s town planning policies and controls”, your next opportunity will probably be in 2020 (ie. as prescribed by the 1987 Planning and Environment Act, reviews are required every 4 years unless granted an exemption).

GERA supports the concept of focusing the demands made by an increasing population towards areas which are best suited to meet those demands (ie. the provision of  housing, transport, employment, retail and commercial services and recreation).  In supporting that concept, we also recognize that local Councils, being the local planning authority, play a key role in identifying appropriate areas capable of accommodating those demands and ensuring, via implementing planning policies and controls, the long term viability and liveability of those areas.

Since the 2003 Housing Diversity/High Density and Minimal Change Area policy was implemented, residents (ourselves included) have consistently criticized Glen Eira’s town planning for allowing development to occur without implementing appropriate planning policies and controls that give consideration to the cumulative (ie. in total) social and environmental impacts that arise from intensive development within targeted areas.

The 2013 Zone Implementation, as documented in the media, resulted in a dramatic increase in that criticism.  As residents’  knowledge of the GE Planning Scheme grows (the result of the objection process), so too does criticism of Council’s planning performance and the absence of appropriate planning policies and controls.  Such criticism, combined with that of developers and VCAT, resulted in the Planning Minister’s decision (December 2015) to require Glen Eira to undertake a planning scheme review in consultation with the community.

The significance/importance of your participation in this Review is highlighted, not only by the Minister’s assessment of the need for the review but also by the all encompassing scope of the review.  Council’s Review Discussion Paper outlines the topics to be reviewed under “Themes”  as follows

  • Municipal Strategic Statement and Local Planning Policies
  • Activity Centres
  • Environmentally Sustainable Development
  • Car Parking and Transport (both private and public)
  • Neighbourhood Character
  • Heritage

Below is a bullet point summary* of the issues raised by residents attending the first  two sessions which readers may wish to consider – no doubt additional issues will be raised in the 3 remaining sessions.   All issues currently raised fall within Council’s ambit of responsibility and all directly impact all residents (regardless of which zone they live in)  – they are also all integral to how you envisage Glen Eira developing.

* Subsequent GERA postings will discuss the most significant issues.  GERA accepts that, although presented under one Theme,  many of the issues are related to more than one theme

DISCUSSION THEMES AND RESIDENTS INPUT

THEME 1 Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) and Local Planning Policies (LPPs)

  • MSS – Despite providing the strategic (overarching) direction for urban/town planning within Glen Eira the current MSS is outdated (i.e. pre 2006) and is based on 1996 Census data.
  • Local Planning Policies reflect the outdated nature of the MSS, while some MMS policies/objectives are yet to be developed eg.   Structure Planning, Parking Precinct Plans.

THEME 2 – Urban Design in Activity Centres

  • Structure Planning and Urban Design Frameworks to be implemented for all high density areas.
  • Review of all high density area boundaries
  • Development Contribution Levy (drainage) to be re-instated and advocating for higher levy rate
  • Overlays required to ensure or provide
    • Application of height controls for all Commercial and Mixed Use zones
    • Provision of diverse dwelling types (eg. apartments and townhouse) and sizes (eg. 1,2,3+ bedrooms) and density parameters
    • Reduced site coverage and basement car park dimensions not to exceed above ground building footprint (ensures increased site permeability and landscaping opportunities)
    • Neighbourhood/Preferred Character Statements
    • Balconies not permitted to exceed property boundaries or overshadow lower balconies.
  • Advocating for minimum apartment sizes and internal amenity standards
  • No waivers on parking or loading bay requirements and the implementation of parking acquisition overlays
  • Private open space provisions (eg. balconies) to be applicable to Commercial and Mixed Use Zones.
  • Enforcement of time restricted parking provisions and a review undertaken on the applicability of those provisions.

THEME 3 Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD)

  • Implement tree protection  (private and public land) – planning scheme provisions are inadequate
  • Energy efficiency ratings and Water Conservation strategies to be applicable to all new construction.
  • Mandatory access to natural light and ventilation for all habitable rooms in multi-unit, multi-storey dwellings.
  • Increased permeable surface requirements in all zones
  • Acquisition of open space
  • Increased open space levy and higher levy rates applicable to Commercial, Mixed Use, Residential Growth and General Residential zones
  • Improved public safety
  • Focus on Sustainable Transport – public transport, pedestrian and cyclist safety.
  • Advocating for an improved public transport system.

THEME 4 Car Parking and Transport

  • Reinstatement of Road Safety Strategy (lapsed in 2012) – focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety and traffic management treatments
  • Reinstatement of Local Area Traffic Management  (LATM)
  • No. of budgeted traffic management treatments to be increased from 3 p.a. to at least 10 p.a.
  • Implementation of Parking Precinct Plans and Parking Acquisition Overlays
  • Application of residential parking permit system and time restricted parking provisions required to be reviewed

THEME 5  Neighbourhood Character

  • Regular assessment of Neighbourhood Character required. Reassessment required to be undertaken in 2016.
  • Neighbourhood Character (NCO) and Design Development Overlays (DDO) to be applied to Neighbourhood Residential Zones
  • NCO and DDO to be applied to “large lots” (> 2000 sqm) in Neighbourhood Residential Zones

THEME 6 Heritage

  • Regular assessment of Heritage required. Glen Eira’s 1996 Heritage Management Plan is overdue for reassessment.
  • MSS and LPPs should include provision for Heritage classification as per Heritage Advisors recommendations both on an ad hoc basis and as part of the regular review process.
  • Significance of recognized heritage areas diminished by allowing unsympathetic redevelopment of sites deemed “non contributory”.
  • Councillors and Council Officers to take into account Independent Heritage Advisors recommendations  and residents expressed views as heritage issues arise.

 CLOSING SESSION

  • Performance measures included in MSS and LPPs to be included in current and all future Planning Scheme Reviews.
  • Planning Scheme Review should take into account recent VCAT judgement justifications which contain criticisms of Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme.

As mentioned previously we urge residents to take advantage of this overdue community consultation opportunity by

  • Attending one of the 3 remaining Planning Review Sessions and the Key Issues Meeting on 15th June, 2016.
  • Making a formal submission to Council – numbers count

Only your participation ensures that your opinions are considered.