Public open space in Glen Eira

“Glen Eira has the lowest amount of public open space as a proportion of their land area of any Victorian Municipality (4.7%), with Stonnington second with 6.7% and Boroondara third with 9.6%."Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Melbourne Metropolitan Review 2010”
Open space Per capita

“Based on a per capita analysis Glen Eira has 1.4 hectares per 1,000 people, Stonnington 1.8 and Boroondara 3.6 Ha per 1,000 persons. The average across Melbourne is 17.9% as a proportion of open space to total land area, or 7.0 Ha per 1,000 persons.” Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Melbourne Metropolitan Review 2010

The facts on Glen Eira public open space speak loudly of what a shortfall we have. By any standards our 1.4 hectares per 1,000 people is a long way behind the Metropolitan Average of 7.0 Ha per 1,000 persons. This open space shortfall has many implications for residents in Glen Eira, now and for the future. The Melbourne Metropolitan Review predicts that Glen Eira's public open space will decline due to population increase.

State Framework and Parkland Code

“The State Planning Policy Framework and the Parklands Code apply to open space on public land. Both state that there should be no long-term reduction in open space area, and where a reduction in open space must take place, it should be replaced with land of equal or greater size and quality. This aims to ensure that public open space cannot be diminished without a proper public process, and replacement with land of equal or greater quality. An example of the application of clause 12.05 and the code is the Royal Children’s Hospital. A new hospital is being constructed in Royal Park adjacent to the existing facility. The existing hospital is to be demolished and its site is to become part of the park to replace land used for the new hospital.” “Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Melbourne Metropolitan Review 2010
Incremental loss of open space
“Open space can also be reduced in area by new building works. A common instance is where an addition is required to an existing public building in a local park. This may not be seen as a significant loss, although in municipalities with a low level of open space, incremental losses of this nature can have an impact.” Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Melbourne Metropolitan Review 2010 |

The 1998 open space strategy put the percentage of active open space at 53% and passive at 47%. However it didn't state that 21.75% of open space in Glen Eira consists of carparking and access roads although the working paper identified this breakdown. And 11.87% of our total open space consists of areas restricted by gate fees. Tennis courts, bowling greens pools etc. So depending on how the roads and car parking areas have been tallied the breakdown of passive open space is considerably less that the stated 47% of the open space in Glen Eira.

The points below are a way forward and will to help redress some of the open space problems Glen Eira faces.
Council needs to adopt a definition of what public open space is. We believe no definition exist in any of the current plans or strategies for Glen Eira. The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council definition, below, could be used.
“Public open space is public land and local council land that has an accepted and ongoing community use for outdoor recreation and informal activities, and that is freely accessible to the public.(Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation Discussion Paper October 2010.”

Council needs an updated Open Space Strategy, the last strategy was 1998 and much has change since that time. This 1998 strategy was well done, but had loopholes that allow passive open space to be viewed as second class land waiting to be plundered for a purpose other than just using it as passive open space.
The 2013 open space strategy needs to recognize and address the following loopholes.
1/ A definition of what public open space is.
2/ Correction of the imbalance between passive and active open areas. This includes a change of culture that considers & treats passive open space as second-class to active open space.
3/ Recognition of the values and services that passive open space provides for its residents health and well being.

4/ Recognition that the more biologically diverse our green areas are, the more they will benefit the residents. These values and services should not be regarded as trivial and subservient to other needs.
The adoption of an off-set policy, where open space is lost to infrastructure or developments, land of equal or greater size should be acquired as replacement.
The monies raised via the Open Space Levy to be used to purchase addition open space.
Council needs to recognize that the loss of private open space through higher density development and the predicted population increases will lead to the need for more public open space.
There should be a policy of no further decline/loss in public open space. This should include public open space lost to building footprints, car parking areas, access roads, and public areas converted to access by fees or club membership etc. This includes the loss of amenity of passive open space though unsympathetic development.
Monies raised from sales of ratepayer property such as laneways to be used to purchase additional public open space.
A grading of the amenity of passive public open space from 1 to 5, with the plan to raise all passive open space to achieve above 4 in a reasonable time frame.

1/ being areas low in aesthetics values, low in natuarlistic value. low in interest values, and low in recreation values, 5/ being high in aesthetics values, high in natuarlistic and biological values. high in interest values, and high in recreation values.
A policy to increase the amount of public open space for biodiversity protection (this could be a percentage level)