Tag Archives: MRC

Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – Community Gathering 15/02/2017

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For those who don’t know in 1858 a Crown Grant established the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve with 3 separate yet equal purposes – racecourse, public recreation ground and public park (Caveat on Title).  Yet over the past 20  years lack of oversight and mismanagement (State Government and Board of Trustees) has allowed racing and racing’s commercial activities to dominate the reserve to the exclusion of the public park purposes.

racecourse-2

The scathing September, 2014 Auditor General Report into the management of the reserve graphically identified the current  imbalance in usage of the Reserves 54 ha (valued at $2bn), that has resulted from that lack of oversight and mismanagement, as being

  • 11 hectares (20%), is leased by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) for a flat rate of approx. $170,000 p.a.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement.  (GERA comment – to put this 37 hectares in perspective, it is roughly the equivalent to the combined size of Glen Eira’s two premier parks – Caulfield Park (24.9ha) and Princes Park (12.4ha.)
  • 6 hectares (11%) is open space for potential use by the community on restricted days at restricted times. Use of the racecourse parkland by the public is not actively promoted nor visible from the surrounding streets.  It is also difficult to physically access and comprises limited facilities that don’t meet park users’ needs.

It is now almost 2.5 years  since the AG’s Report and, although “opening up” the Reserve for public use by the surrounding communities of Glen Eira and Stonnington would be significant*, only scant information is available on progress and little has been achieved at “ground zero”.  Therefore, GERA, in conjunction with the Malvern East Group (a.k.a. Stonnington residents group), invites you to a Community Gathering at Caulfield Racecourse between 6.00 & 8.00 pm on Wednesday, 15th February, 2015.

The purpose of this event is twofold

  • To increase community usage of the our parkland by
    • Increasing community awareness of the 2 public park purposes of this Reserve and
    • Providing an opportunity for the community to visit the park and experience it’s magnitude and beauty.
  • To provide local residents with an opportunity to join the campaign seeking increased State Government actions, that are geared to
    • redressing the imbalance in racing vs. public usage of this public land, and
    • ensuring compliance with the Auditor General’s recommendation for open and transparent management this public land.

We hope you will be able to attend.

Public Parkland Access Point Details & Opening Hours

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*Significance of “Opening Up” the Reserve

  • Glen Eira has the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne, Stonnington the second least
  • Caulfield Racecourse is located
    • just south of Dandenong Road which is the boundary between the two municipalities.
    • Residents in both Municipalities experience adverse amenity impacts (traffic, parking and noise) from racing and racing commercial events.
    • In both Municipalities, the residential areas surrounding this small stretch of Dandendong Road are targeted for, and are currently experiencing, high density growth.

Caulfield Racecourse trustees face sack in community push for more open space

Just published in The Age  – after 140 years, and almost two years after the scathing Auditor General’s Report (17/9/2014) on the Management Performance of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust, it looks like the State Government is taking the first step in ensuring this Crown Land (valued at $2bn) is governed in accordance with it’s 3 specific purposes of racecourse, public park and public recreation ground.

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The AGE article –  Farrah Tomazin – August 20 2016 – 4:18PM

A powerful board that manages the Caulfield Racecourse faces being sacked after years of “unworkable” governance, paving the way for one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets to be opened up for greater public use.

In a move likely to be welcomed by residents, the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – the equivalent of about 15 MCGs worth of open space – could soon be utilised for more recreation, local sport and much-needed parkland in the heart of inner-city suburbia.

Racecourse Centre

An aerial view of Caulfield Racetrack. Photo: Google Earth

The reserve is home to premier racing events such as the Caulfield Cup and the Blue Diamond Stakes, but the land was put aside a century ago for broader community use, not just the city’s sporting elite.

However, most Melburnians would not know they can simply walk in and use the space, largely because the governing board – made up by a secretive group of trustees heavily influenced by the powerful Melbourne Racing Club – has made the site look unwelcoming and managed the area for years to serve its own interests: predominantly training and racing.

A bipartisan panel set up by the Andrews government earlier this year has now branded the trustee structure “unworkable” and “anachronistic”, and called for a new independent body to manage the reserve.

The panel’s report, seen by The Sunday Age, suggests the government could first request the resignations of the trustees, whose 15 members comprise six MRC nominees (including chair Mike Symons and vice-chair Peter Le Grand); six government nominees (including former ALP national president Greg Sword and federal court judge Shane Marshall) and three from the Glen Eira Council.

If the trustees don’t stand down legislation would be introduced giving the minister the power to dissolve the group and set up a new, clearer governance structure based on bodies such the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust or the MCG Trust. In the meantime, the department of environment would be appointed the interim land manager.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said she was considering her options and would respond shortly.

“This historic issue has been languishing for far too long and requires decisive action,” she said. “We must ensure there is a balance between the needs of the racing community and local residents.”

A key problem with the governance of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve is the trust is the landlord and the Melbourne Racing Club its tenant – yet six of the 15 trustees also happen to be MRC appointments.

The composition of the group has therefore resulted in perceived and real conflicts of interest, a lack of accountability, and unresolved disputes between trustees on everything from the lease arrangements to how the area should best be used.

The City of Glen Eira has the least public space of any municipality, and councillors have previously pointed out there were about 400 children unable to play sport in the area last winter because they simply didn’t have the room.

Liberal Caulfield MP David Southwick – part of the working group, along with Labor Oakleigh MP Steve Dimopoulos and independent chair Ken Ryan – told Fairfax Media: “The Andrews government must act immediately and implement the working group’s report and sack the Caulfield Racecourse Trust to restore appropriate governance and to unlock this prime open space for the community.”

Mr Dimopoulos said it was crucial the MRC deliver on a plan to remove training from the site within five years, to allow sports grounds to be established around the reserve.

The skewed way in which the reserve has been managed was highlighted in a 2014 Auditor-General’s report, which found 37 out of the reserve’s 54 hectares were being used by the MRC for racing and training “without clear legal entitlement or transparent arrangements in place that recognise the financial benefit to the club”.

A further 11 hectares were leased to the MRC. But only six hectares were identified as space the public could use – if they managed to navigate their way past the poor signage and unwelcoming access points.

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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Racecourse and Recreation Reserve – Opportunity for Change ???

Wednesday, 16th September, 2015, saw the conclusion of the two Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Trust consultations (presented by Trust Chairman Greg Sword and Landscape Architect, John Patrick) which sought community input into the initial stages of Trust’s preparation of a “Strategic Land Management Plan” (SLMP) for the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve”. 

BACKGROUND of the RACECOURSE and RECREATION RESERVE

The Reserve (which comprises 54 ha of primly located crown land currently valued at $2bn) was created (by a Crown Grant in 1858 and formally enacted in 1875) to provide for three separate yet equal purposes of race course, public park and public recreation ground. Yet, as per the Auditor General’s (9/2014) findings, under the dysfunctional and archaic structure of the Trust, management of the reserve has focused on the racing purpose to the exclusion of the public park and recreation ground purposes.

In short, as per the AG’s report, the resulting inequitable imbalance in the reserves usage, facilities and accessibility is as follows

  • 11 ha (20%) is leased for racing uses for a peppercorn rental of $170,000 pa.
  • 37ha (69%) is used for racing purposes without any clear legal entitlement or payment. The majority of this area is located in the centre of the racecourse proper (a.k.a. the “Flats”) and is that area originally set aside for public usage.
  • 6ha (11%) that is “potentially” available for public park usage. The area is difficult to access and comprises limited facilities – both presenters agreed with this assessment.

 Since inception, the Trust’s management and Racing’s* dominance of the reserve has been a contentious issue, but never more so than in the last 18 years.   In 1997, the Victorian Racing Club, for financial reasons, decided to sell for development their state of the art training facility located on their freehold land in Mordialloc (a.k.a. the former Epsom Racecourse) and to focus training facilities at the Caulfield Racecourse (ie. choosing subsidised Crown Land rather than their own freehold land within Metro Melbourne or in a regional centre).

* While the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) is the current public face of the Reserve, the public face has varied between various Racing entities over the years.   To simplify this posting, GERA uses the generic term of “Racing” to represent these entities.

 In the past 18 years, increased Racing dominance has resulted in a dramatic decline in the area/s available for public usage (via the encroachment of training facilities and commercial activities) and the public’s ability to access the public usage area/s (eg. 4 only access points, restricted daily hours of usage, inner fencing and training track barriers, public exclusion during non-racing related commercial activities) – thus the Auditor General’s description of the remaining 6 ha of public park being “potentially” available.    

Centre’s Public Use Areas – from Glen Eira’s 1998 and 2013 Open Space Strategy

CONSULTATION

 The second (16/9) consultation was not as controversial or “firey” as the first (9/9) consultation. Although, the consultations were promoted as being “to ascertain how the Reserve could be utilised by the public, what facilities could be incorporated into the Reserve for both passive and active recreation and to identify community demands and expectations of the Reserve”, during the context setting presentation of the first (9/9) consultation

  • various exclusions were applied (eg. all leased areas and all stabling and training facilities located within the reserve would remain as a “given”). These exclusions whittled the area of the Reserve open for discussion down to an area akin to the 6 ha referred to in the Auditor General’s report. Additionally, although presenting a map of the reserve, the presenters were unable to identify either the location or size of the public area to be discussed.
  • out of scope rulings were applied to a number of highly contentious issues that had major impacts on public accessibility (eg. no. and location of access points, times of use and removal of inner and perimeter fencing)
  • the limited extent of the consultation advertising was discussed. That advertising being restricted to a
    • notification on the recently revived Trustee website  and
    • mailout to Glen Eira sporting clubs, retirement villages and schools within a 3 km radius of the Reserve.
    • brief comments in the Glen Eira Leader

All in all, not a good start.   Those attending (approx. 35) the first consultation, quickly began seriously questioning the Trust’s ability to develop an “overall vision and rationale for the Masterplan”, when the starting point (for a unique site with huge potential for a wide area) was based on maintaining the status quo – a status quo that was the subject of a scathing Auditor General’s Report in 2014 and an equally critical 2008 Legislative Council Select Committee Report.

Basically, the attendees argued that

  • while acknowledging that this consultation represented a shift in the Trustee management philosophy, that shift was still accompanied by a philosophy that clearly considered the 2 public purposes as subordinate to the Racing purpose rather than as outweighing or being at least equal to the  racing purpose.
  • the Trust needed to take a much broader view that recognised the huge potential of this land and the opportunity it presents to a dramatically increasing population with an ever increasing need for parkland and open space.
    • first establish a future vision for the optimum 3 separate yet equal purposes
    • then establish both the time frame and steps required to move from the current untenable position to achieve the future vision.

 Encouragingly, although still unable to identify the size and location of the public area included in the SLMP, the context setting presentation for the second consultation (16/9) acknowledged a number of issues raised at first consultation (9/9). Hence, our earlier comment that the second consultation was less controversial than the first. These issues included

  • that development of the SLMP, would be a long, reiterative process and would involve the broader community, not just Glen Eira’s sporting clubs, retirement villages and schools located within 3 km of the Racecourse.
  • retention of all stabling and training facilities located on Reserve land was not a “given” and that initially, consideration would be given to “tweeking” the current training track configuration to increase the public park area.  Later consideration would be given to the removal of training and stabling facilities located on reserve land.
  • that public accessibility and fencing (inner and perimeter) issues would be included in the SLMP.

However, the positive nature of the above was subsequently dampened by Greg Sword’s outline of the deficiencies/dysfunctionalities inherent in the Trust’s structure and the severe impact these have on the Trust’s ability to effectively manage the Reserve.

  • There are 15 Trustees comprising
    • 6 Trustees representing the racing industry. These Trustees are senior executives of the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and in regular contact.
    • 6 Trustees appointed by the State Government, theoretically representing the broader community who may or may not be in regular contact with other trustees. GERA comment – as per the 2008 Select Committee Report these Trustees have a predominantly racing (vs. parkland management) background and know little of the public park purposes.
    • 3 Trustees representing the local community, appointed by the State Government. These trustees are Glen Eira Councillors (Crs. Lipshutz, Hyans and Esakoff) who may not be in regular contact with other trustees.
  • This structure makes it difficult for the Trust to pass any resolution that is not supported by the Melbourne Racing Club Trustees.
  • Therefore, it is unlikely that any SLMP that is “seen” to adversely impact Racing’s use of the Reserve (for racing, training or stabling or non-racing related commercial events) will the approved by the Trust.
  • Revenue received from MRC’s Reserve leases will provide the funding for works included in the Trust’s SLMP.   Even if the currently proposed, highly questionable, annual rental of $1 million, is approved, it will be some time before works will commence.
  • The Trustees have not met since prior to the publication of the Auditor General’s Report and are not scheduled to meet until November.   Trust approval to undertake this current round of consultations was obtained through email contact.
  • The Trust could not comment on Racing’s future plans for the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve (Australian Financial Review, 11/9/2015)  as Racing had not submitted those plans to the Trust.

 While attendees (at both consultations) were left wondering why, one year after the Auditor General’s Report, the State Government has yet to address the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Trust issues, they nevertheless put forward their views on the public facilities required, in the hope that some improvement may eventuate.

Not in any particular order, these views were

  • Facilities to be provided must
    • have broad appeal, providing for all ages, all abilities, both genders and be family friendly.
    • provide for both active and passive park usage
    • have multiple and flexible use surfaces to provide for various sports
    • provide for both organised and informal sporting activities
  • Must be available for night/evening usage. Currently public usage is not permitted after dusk.
  • Ball Sports should be allowed. For example – football, soccer, cricket, hockey, baseball, tennis.
  • Flying of model areoplanes
  • The racecourse proper and training tracks should not be restricted from other uses, eg. joggers, athletics, school athletics.
  • Use of the centre as for commercial/corporate events or as a carpark is not supported.
  • Removal of inner and perimeter fencing.
  • Provision of farm and community gardens
  • Improved access (increased access points and existing access points improved)
  • Provide above ground pedestrian access through “new” Glen Eira Road parkland
  • Reserve’s public park and recreation area and usage to be actively promoted (rather than racecourse usage).

In addition, two further points were emphasised at both consultations

  • The impact of Glen Eira’s limited open space and sporting facilities has on all residents and in particular, the inability of the Glen Eira’s sporting clubs, located within 3 km of the Reserve, to meet membership demand.  So dire is their current need (not to mention the future need from the Caulfield Village, the Monash University expansion and the potential redevelopment of the MRC Freehold land along Kambrook and Booran Roads) for additional facilities that, initially, they were willing “bend” their match and training schedules to accommodate the 27 race meetings per annum and various commercial activities.
  • Do something now!!   With minimal effort and cost,
    • at least 2-3 sporting grounds can be accommodated within the current public usage area
    • improved public access and park promotion could be provided via the replacement of the solid perimeter fencing with open palisade fencing (with additional gates) along Glen Huntly Park and Queens Avenue.

AUDITOR GENERAL’S PERFORMANCE AUDIT OF THE TRUSTEES MANAGEMENT OF THE CAULFIELD RACECOURSE RESERVE.

The Auditor General’s above Report was tabled in Parliament this morning.  In preparing the report, the Auditor General invited community groups and individuals to make submissions to the Audit.  GERA was one of those community groups. While GERA has not had time to fully digest the content of the Auditor General’s Report, for the time being it is sufficient to say that GERA agrees with the Report’s summary findings.   Same starting point, different paths taken ( determined by the AG’s direct access to Trustee and DEPI information vs. residents reliance on secondary or third hand information) yielded the same conclusion.

Subsequent GERA postings will contain comments on the details of the report.

For GERA, the big question now is, will the politicians do anything the tools are available, is the will?

BACKGROUND

The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve was created by a Crown Grant in August, 1958 “to provide a site for a Race Course Public Recreation Ground and Public Park at Caulfield” and management of the reserve, in accordance with these 3 separate yet equal purposes, was vested in a Board of Trustees.

“Fifteen trustees are appointed by the Governor in Council to manage the reserve—six each representing government and the Melbourne Racing Club and three representing Glen Eira City Council. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) has a role in overseeing the performance of Crown land managers”.

Both historically and currently, residents have long argued that

  • Trustees have focused on the racing purpose, to the exclusion and detriment of the public recreation and public park purposes, and
  • The Victorian Government representatives appointed as Trustees, and the overseeing Government Departments, have also focused on racing purpose to the exclusion of the other two purposes.

AUDITOR GENERAL’S FINDINGS

“The audit concluded that the trustees have not been effective in their overall management of the reserve. There is an absence of governance arrangements and management tools to effectively guide the management of the reserve, and the trustees have not established a strategic plan for land use and development of the reserve. Consequently, conflicts of interest have not been adequately managed and preference has been afforded to racing interests with insufficient attention given to use of the reserve for recreational pursuits and as a public park.

DEPI has not effectively overseen the management of the reserve by the trustees and has not intervened in significant issues that adversely affect the trustees’ management of the reserve. There is no framework established for trustees to report to DEPI, and in turn to the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, and therefore there is a lack of accountability over the trust’s performance.”

GERA’s AUDIT SUBMISSIONS

GERA made two submissions

• A Preliminary Submission, specifically requested by the Auditor General, on the public access points to the reserve, and
• A Final Submission (which included supporting documentation in a separate Appendices)

For those interested in reading our submissions, we advise that even allowing for the inclusion of photographs they make for hefty reading.

Our thanks to the many who contributed to GERA’s submission – your significant contribution is greatly appreciated and hopefully will result in a significant change to the Reserve’s management.

Errata

The following sentence has be added to our original posting to aid clarification:.

“Same starting point, different paths taken (determined by the AG’s direct access to Trustee and DEPI information vs. residents reliance on secondary or third hand information) yielded the same conclusion.”

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

PART 3 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

This posting is a continuation of our previous posting “Part 2 – C60/Caulfield Village Development Plans – Why you can & should object – Traffic”. If you haven’t already done so, GERA recommends reading this posting in conjunction with our earlier C60/ Caulfield Village Development Plans postings.

Overview
Picture and Documentation
Part 1 –Why you can & should object
Part 2 – Why you can & should object

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Traffic – continued

Infrastructure changes – The Integrated Transport Plan, under the S173 agreement*, proposes the following infrastructure changes to the existing, analysed road next work.

Overview Infrastructure works

Details of the “starred” infrastructure works are

Proposed Upgrades 1 and 2 T

Proposed Upgrades 3 and 4 T

These modifications will be undertaken as appropriate for each stage of the Development (eg. signalisation of the Kambrook Road/Station Street intersection will occur during the Stage 2 construction phase).

Parking

As previously mentioned in our Overview posting residents have consistently raised issues with inadequate parking provisions within the development. These issues have been

• Inadequate consideration given to displaced parking in Smith Street, Station Street and ‘the triangle’ on weekdays or during Racecourse events. Displaced parking arising not only from road configurations but also by the introduction of time restricted parking within the development have not been considered.
• Impact of development on surrounding limited open space (use of the Centre of the Racecourse Reserve as a car park)
• No consideration given to the parking impact of the Monash University development on the C60 development or surrounding residential areas.
• No consideration given to the “Triangle” displaced parking (shared by Monash University staff and Tabaret (“Glasshouse”) patrons.
• Inadequate on-site/off-street visitor parking provision

Council has long recognised that on street parking demand in the local area exceeds demand, particularly during weekdays and racecourse events.

• The weekday demand for parking is predominantly due to the proximity of Caulfield Station and commuters seeking on street, paid all day parking (Smith Street, Station Street, and Normanby Road) or unpaid on street all day parking in residential streets. Parking demand arising from Monash University primarily arises from students and is directed to residential streets.
• Parking demand for Racecourse events is currently provided
o Off Street – by the Centre of the Racecourse (3000 free public parking accessed by the Glen Eira/Booran Road Tunnel), Members Carparks 1 & 2 (not available post development), the Guineas Carpark (536 space – crown land) and the Kambrook Road (674 spaces – MRC free hold land). In total existing carparking will decrease 5646 spaces to 4210 spaces post development..
o On-street – along the main roads (Smith and Station Streets, Kambrook and Normanby Roads) and surrounding residential streets.

Residents should note that a review of both the Car Parking Management Plan and the Integrated Transport Plan shows

• No provision for on site/off street visitor parking
• On site/off street car parking provisions within the development are 2910 basement or podium car spaces with secured access. Analysis of provisions shows an excess of 333 spaces which, since this falls short of the required 409 visitor parking requirement imposed by Council and is located in secured access areas, residents assume is included to provide flexibility for future stages (Stages 2 & 3) of the development (eg. increased retail/commercial, decreased dwellings)

• 165 current of on-street/off site car parking spaces will be lost due to the reconfiguration of Smith and Station Streets and lower on-street/off site parking provisions in the Boulevard.
• Of the expected 18,900 vpd traffic generated by the Development, 8,500 is attributed to residents (presumably accessing or exiting the development) and 10,400 vpd is attributed to retail. Even allowing for the short term, high turnover requirements of retail parking on street parking provisions are inadequate.
• Inadequate analysis is provided for displaced car parking on major event days (e.g Caulfield Cup), eg. use of Centre of the Racecourse for Members Parking displaces public parking)
• The Caulfield Village has not been excluded from the residential parking permit scheme nor has any comment been made on the
o introduction of timed parking restrictions in local residential streets (as per the media release, cost to be paid by the MRC) or
o the implementation of enforcement procedures in the local residential streets

Open Space

Discussion on open space provisions within the provided documentation is scant and indicate that

• within the development, public open space needs are provided solely by linear, landscaped access paths (some shared with vehicle garage access) which are said to foster a “vibrant community”. However, residents have indicated that the proposed landscaping provides for small, sparse canopy trees that will have difficulty surviving in soil depths limited by basement car parking and locations between multi-storey buildings that restrict access to sunlight and rainfall. In addition residents suggest that linear parks are generally seen as serving little civic purpose or function as they are more suited to movement than congregation.

• In general little mention has been made of parks within the surrounding area (Centre of the Racecourse, Caulfield Park, East Caulfield Reserve), while that mentioned focuses on “already at capacity” Caulfield Park. Yet, the Centre of the Racecourse closer to the development and is within easy walking distance of any point within the development. Additionally, improved pedestrian connectivity to East Caulfield Reserve has been overlooked.

Drainage

Several of our members with knowledge of drainage (GERA does not profess to be drainage experts) have expressed concerns on the storm water drainage provisions outlined in Development Plan documentation. Their concerns arise from a 90% impermeable site coverage (previously 100% permeable), the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and a natural land slope that will direct surface run off towards Caulfield Park. While Council is currently undertaking drainage works in the nearby residential streets (presumably to service the drainage requirements of the C60/Caulfield Village Development), our members are also concerned that, as in the last extreme weather event, increased storm water flows where Council drains connect with Melbourne/South East Water drains may result is flooding in areas removed for the actual development site.

Public Transport Infrastructure

GERA, like most residents, is not anti-development, we recognise

• that population growth requires additional housing (of diverse types, in various locations with access to public transport), and
• that there is considerable intrinsic value in encouraging use of sustainable transport options (walking, cycling and public transport) vs. use of private motor vehicles, and
• that the above two points places a responsibility on all levels of government to adequately provide those sustainable transport options.

Unfortunately, the development of, or improvements to the most expensive (and perhaps most effective) sustainable transport options – public transport – are lacking. Without service and capacity improvements to the current inadequate, stretched to capacity public transport network, developments of the magnitude of C60/Caulfield Village do more to encourage the use of private vehicle transport than it does to encourage the use of public transport. For this reason GERA believes that C60/Caulfield Village proposal should be delayed until public transport infrastructure improvements are at least in the pipeline.

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Since the submission deadline is 26th February, 2014 (the date of this posting), those readers who have yet to make a submission to do so a.s.a.p. as the Planning Conference is to be held on

Monday, 3rd March, 2014 at 6.30 p.m. at the Caulfield Park Pavilion

Council MAY accept late submissions and if so, given the limited time frame, we encourage sending submissions via email.  A submission does not have to lengthy and it does not require your attendance at the Planning Conference. However, it does place your submission on record and ensures that Council will inform you of it’s decision.

Residents who have not made a submission may still attend the Planning Conference.

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* Section 173 Agreement
Broadly, a Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement (under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) between the Local Authority (Council) and the owners of the land (the MRC in this instance). S173 agreements are generally used to reinforce planning controls and impose restrictions and conditions on titles.

Declaration
Please note GERA advises that a number of our members reside in the vicinity of the C60 / Caulfield Village Development – the number of these members is less 0.5% of the 500 local residents that Council has identified, and contacted, as those most likely to be impacted by the development. This percentage falls further when the development’s flow on impacts to the broader community are considered.

PART 2 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

This posting is a continuation of our previous posting “Part 1 – C60/Caulfield Village Development Plans – Why you can & should object”

Planning Scheme Amendment C111- Ministerial Amendment Request

With regards setbacks, residents/readers should be aware that above Planning Scheme Amendment C111 was presented to Council for review at the 15th October, 2013 meeting. The Minister was seeking Councils view on a proposed Ministerial Amendment requested by the developer. As described in the officer’s report (Council Minutes 15/10/2013) the amendment sought “to make some changes to provide increased clarification to the documentation associated with the Caulfield Village Development”.

Included in the list of changes proposed were the following that should be particularly noted

Point 2 – “An ability to allow minor building works such as verandahs, balconies, eaves, downpipes, street furniture and art works to intrude into stipulated setback requirements”. While perhaps of limited relevance to the current Stage 1 Residential Development Plan consultation will presumably be significant (access to natural light) in the later Stage 2 (Mixed Use Precinct) and Stage 3 (Smith Street Precinct) consultations.
Point 3 – Clarification that Council can approve a Development Plan with building heights exceeding heights stipulated in the Incorporated Plan. Although argued that requirement for the town planning permit and an appeal/objection process, it does raise questions related to

o the elements of “certainty” said to be included in the Incorporated Plan.
o the “generally in accordance” approve or reject criteria discussed above
o the DPCD practice note discussion above – “The responsible authority should not grant a permit for use or development that is not generally in accordance’ with the plan unless the schedule provides a clear basis to do so”.

Although the report states that the first of the development plans was “expected to be submitted to Council shortly” and that  Council was “not in a position to abandon the amendment” it could “provide a view”,  it is surprising that the possibility of including the amendment details in the Development Plan consultation or of proposing modifications to the proposed amended were not discussed as options in the Officer’s Report or raised by Councillors in the ensuing discussion.

The recommendation included in the officer’s report was passed unanimously. Amendment C111 was enacted on 14/1/2014 (Development Plan consultation commenced 5/2/2014) and has been included in Caulfield Village Mixed Use Area Incorporated Plan dated December, 2013.

Aside from residents expressing concerns re “constantly changing the goal posts” and an apparent approach of changing the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans for the development rather than changing the development to comply with the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans, there are two other changes than have not been publicly highlighted. These changes are

• The December, 2013 Incorporated Plan is now referenced in the Planning Scheme and hence will be the Incorporated Plan applicable to all current and future “generally in accordance” discussions. The change is identified as being related to Amendment C111 on 14/1/2014.

• Both the November and December, 2013 Incorporated Plans shows no height restrictions on the “Triangle” building site currently used for Tabaret and Monash University car parking. The height restrictions are defined as “Height and form to be assessed on design merit” (previous height limits were 2008 = 15 storeys, 2011 = 20 storeys).  Without a defined height limit there is no way to determine if the height limit has been exceeded – it removes the “trigger” that identifies when a planning permit is required and thereby the reinstatement of third party objection rights.

Since no details have been provided on the removal of these height restrictions (this particular building was a highly contentious issue at all C60/Caulfield Village consultations due to its proximity to the heritage listed Caulfield Station), GERA is unable to confirm when the height restrictions were removed and whether their removal was a ministerial decision (with or without review by Council).

Traffic

As previously mentioned in our earlier “Overview” posting (insert link) residents have consistently raised issues with the inadequate traffic analysis. All previous and current Development Plan traffic analyses focussed on traffic within the development itself and on the sections of the main roads that were “in the vicinity of the site”. No analysis was undertaken on the impact on surrounding residential streets or Neerim Road or Queens Avenue or the Normanby Road underpass and potential flow on impacts from the Monash University development were not considered.

The main roads “in the vicinity” are heavily congested in peak periods and all carry significant volumes during off peak periods. The Integrated Transport Plan (insert link) records current vehicle per day (vpd) volumes as being

• Balaclava Road – 8,000
• Station Street – 13,000
• Normanby Road – 10,500
• Kambrook Road – 7,500
• Smith Street – 7,000

The estimated post construction traffic generation from Caulfield Village is 18,900 vpd. Information on the dispersement the Caulfield Village generated traffic is scant as are traffic volumes for the Boulevard (which will be greatly impacted by the reconfiguration works in Smith and Station Street).

Local residents’ empirical evidence indicates that the current volume of traffic is primarily due to through traffic skirting railway level crossings via the Normanby Road, Smith Street and Queens Avenue underpasses. The current absence of retail or commercial services/employment opportunities in the defined area adds considerable weight to the residents evidence. Since traffic is highly fluid, residents believe that increased congestion arising from the development (construction and post construction periods) will flow on to other areas of the municipality.

With regards traffic, there are some other points residents should be aware of

• Included in the Community Engagement Document (a.k.a. extract of 17/12/2013 Council Meeting Minutes) is a motion that states Council has undertaken the following traffic studies

  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Queens Avenue, Caulfield East including the area around the Neerim Road intersection and the Sir John Monash Drive intersection”,
  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Eskdale Road Caulfield East showing the impact, if any on the local street of the changed traffic conditions on nearby Kambrook Road;
  • That any studies of pedestrian movement along Queens Avenue be examined for potential improvements to safety and accessibility”

Details of these studies, although relevant to the Development Plan Consultation and in part addressing the inadequacies of previous traffic analyses, have not been made available as part of the Development Plan Consultation.

• The Integrated Transport Plan references a Section 173 Agreement* between Council and the MRC.  A copy of this agreement is included in the 28/4/2011 Special Council Meeting Minutes which also record Council’s approval of Caulfield Village Development (

Clause 7.1.1 is as follows

“the plans and specifications required for the Required Infrastructure Projects are intended to facilitate works to a standard required only by the development of the Subject Land within the parameters of the Incorporated Plan and not to a standard required to compensate for any inadequacy in the infrastructure that currently services existing developments or as a result of development on any other land”

The intent of this clause is slightly ameliorated by Section 7.1.4. (c) which is as follows

“with the approval and commencement of development it may be necessary for further agreements to be entered into to address the provision of infrastructure, works in lieu and contributions for works performed and they will negotiate the terms of such further agreements in good faith”

A number of residents have interpreted these clauses as “the MRC’s design of access networks within the development is only required to only consider those roads in the existing road network that the traffic analyses identify as providing access to and from the development.  The responsibility for determining and funding any infrastructure works required on those identified roads is the responsibility of the MRC.  The MRC is not required to consider any other roads or the impacts on the amenity of the local community (zoned Neighbourhood Residential or Minimal Change). Infrastructure works required to offset the impact of development on these other roads will be determined and undertaken by Council with the responsibility for the funding of these works being decided later.”

Since the roads identified in the above recently undertaken Council traffic studies (ie. Queens Avenue, Eskdale Road, Neerim Road) are those that residents have consistently argued should have been included in all traffic studies undertaken for the development, residents are now left questioning why they were not included and to what extent the costs of the currently unknown infrastructure works will be funded by the Glen Eira ratepayers.  GERA agrees with the residents questioning.

 This posting will resume as

PART 3 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT – Traffic

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* Section 173 Agreement

Broadly, a Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement (under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) between the Local Authority (Council) and the owners of the land (the MRC in this instance). S173 agreements are generally used to reinforce planning controls and impose restrictions and conditions on titles.

Declaration
Please note GERA advises that a number of our members reside in the vicinity of the C60 / Caulfield Village Development – the number of these members is less than 1% of our members and less than 0.5% of the 500 local residents that Council has identified, and contacted, as those most likely to be impacted by the development. These percentage falls further when the development’s flow on impacts to the broader community are considered.