What is “open space”?

For the purposes of this Strategy open space includes not only the main parks, gardens and sports reserves (e.g. Portland Foreshore, Fawthrop Lagoon, Henty Park), but also conservation reserves (e.g. Walook Swamp), unused road reserves, rail corridors and open spaces supporting the footpath network. This does not include walkways, car parks, right of ways, streetscapes or nature strips connected to developments unless they are connected to a larger tract of open space.

The Strategy applies to all open spaces in Glenelg Shire Council, whether owned by Council, a public authority or a public or private school. 

What is the purpose and vision for this open space strategy?

The preparation of the Open Space Strategy provides an opportunity for Council to take into account all of the current open space assets across the Glenelg Shire and actively consider future open space needs.

The Strategy will

·  provide clear direction for provision of open space to respond to the current situation and meet the needs of our future population over the next 20 years

·  enable identification of the most important projects that will deliver the best outcomes for the community and guide future investment in open space

The Vision for the Shire’s open space network is:

A unique & diverse network of quality open spaces

that continue to meet the unique & diverse needs

of the Shire’s unique and diverse community & visitors.

What are the guiding principles for the development of this strategy?

The following principles have been developed to guide the future planning and ongoing management of the Shire’s open space network:

PROVISION

Provide for a diverse network of quality, accessible, and inclusive open spaces and facilities within comfortable walking distances of residents to encourage physical activity and participation

PROTECTION

Environmental, Indigenous and European Cultural Heritage features and values will be conserved and enhanced and, where appropriate, promoted to increase community and visitor awareness of the importance and value of these features

CONNECTED

The network will be connected via open space corridors and streetscapes that encourage walking and cycling whilst providing valuable wildlife/habitat corridors. Priority will be given to strategically important linkages between key open spaces, recreation and visitor destinations

ADAPTABLE

Open spaces will be flexible and adaptable to respond appropriately to varying circumstances, such as changing population demographics, community and visitor needs, recreational preferences and climate change

SUSTAINABLE

Recommended improvements, ongoing management and maintenance should be adequately resourced so that the open space network can be sustained over time to meet the needs of current and future residents and visitors

ACTIVATION

Promote the activation of open spaces through responsive and innovative design and the support of community events, programs and, where appropriate, other commercial uses

PARTNERSHIPS

Work in partnership with the community, community groups, state and federal government, private and other providers to implement a cohesive and integrated approach to delivering a sustainable and fit for purpose open space network

ENGAGEMENT

Progressive and ongoing engagement with the community and key stakeholders to ensure that the open space network continues to respond to the contemporary expectations of the community

How will this report be used by Council?

The final Strategy will be delivered with implementation materials to help Council staff and Elected Members to implement the Plan. These implementation materials will include Open Space Design Guidelines, and an Open Space Contributions Program. Planning Scheme Amendment Documentation will also be developed to inform proposed changes to the Planning Scheme.

The Strategy will be periodically reviewed, providing up-to-date guidance to Council’s strategic planning and management of the open space network.

This plan will also be used to guide discussions with user groups, funding bodies, developers and the community to ensure that the current and future provision of open space meets community needs. 

What are the next steps?

Now that the draft Strategy has been prepared and published on YourSay Glenelg, we are asking for community input through reviewing the Strategy and providing feedback and comments through the YourSay portal.

Once feedback has been collated and addressed, the Final Open Space Strategy will be published on Council’s website and integrated into Council’s planning processes through use of implementation materials provided alongside the final Strategy.

How do I provide my feedback?

Please complete the Feedback Form below, this provides an opportunity for general comments.

All hard copy submissions must be received by 5.00 pm on Tuesday 12th of February 2019 and should be addressed to:

Draft Glenelg Shire Open Space Strategy, 

PO Box 152, Portland, Victoria 3305

For further details and to keep updated, please visit Council’s Facebook page. 

How do I know my feedback has been received?

All feedback forms, submissions or correspondence will be acknowledged either by email or in writing so that you know your comments/feedback have been received.

What opportunities did the community have to provide input into this Strategy?

A series of consultation mechanisms were used to engage with the wider community and key Stakeholders.

An online community survey was available for any member of the community to complete during November and December 2017.

Other opportunities included a community workshop in Portland, a workshop with school students in Portland, community listening posts in Casterton and Heywood, meetings with community members in Merino, Dartmoor and Nelson (November 2017) and numerous telephone interviews and emails throughout the project. 

When will the recommendations in each of the townships be implemented and how have the recommendations been prioritised?

The Strategy identifies a series of specific actions to be implemented over time. Each action has been given an indicative timeframe for implementation. The timeframe for implementation of each action is dependent on the priority level and feasibility of accomplishing the action within the time periods. The indicative timeframes are as follows:

·  Short term: 2019 - 2021

·  Medium term: 2022 - 2030

·  Long term: 2031+

In assessing the priority for each of the strategies, the following factors were considered:

·  Alignment with the Strategy Vision and Outcomes

·  Identified need

·  Safety

·  Feasibility

·  Level of planning already undertaken

·  Level of community support

The Strategy provides further details on the recommendations, with specific actions and a map for your community provided within the Precincts section of the Strategy.

How does this strategy fit with the other Council strategies?

The Open Space Strategy is just one of a number of strategies and plans that will guide the future development of (and investment in) open space facilities and infrastructure.

The Strategy has been prepared to align with the Glenelg Shire Council Plan 2017 – 2021 and has strong interrelationships with the Glenelg Shire Health & Wellbeing Plan 2017 – 2021 and various other Council Strategies. Council is currently preparing a Glenelg Shire Active Your Way Recreation Strategy and a Glenelg Shire Tracks and Trails Strategy which will be broadly guided by the Open Space Strategy.

How is the hierarchy determined for local, district, township and regional open space land parcels?

As part of the project’s extensive on-ground assessment, each and every open space parcel was assessed against established guidelines (Open Space Planning & Design Guidelines; PLA Victoria) to determine whether an open space was considered to be local, district, township or regional.

Local open spaces tend to be smaller spaces (less than 0.5 hectares) and serve community members that live within approximately 300m of the open space (e.g. Short Street Reserve, Portland South, Queen Street Park, Casterton).

Neighbourhood open spaces tend to be slightly larger (between 0.75 and 2 hectares) and serve community members that live within approximately 400m of the open space (e.g. Heywood Lions Park, Charles Campbell Reserve, Portland South).

District open spaces are larger again, and can be up to 10 hectares in size, serving members of the community from multiple suburbs (e.g. Narrawong Coastal Reserve).

Township open spaces are typically located in rural areas and are likely to be the main open space for that town incorporating outdoor sporting and recreation facilities and parkland (e.g. Island Park, Casterton).

Regional open spaces typically range in size between 10 and 30 hectares, drawing in members of the community across the Shire and attracting visitors to the region, often including significant sites of historic, cultural and/or environmental value (e.g. Portland Foreshore).

What are the outcomes of this strategy?

The Strategy comprises a series of strategies and actions which have been categorised into 6 strategic outcomes, a snapshot of which is provided below:

1.  Open space planning framework

A key outcome for the strategy is to deliver a cohesive and integrated approach to land use and open space planning across the Shire. This will be achieved through use of the Open Space Strategy to inform changes to the Shire’s existing strategic planning documents, such as updates to the Local Planning Framework and Sport & Recreation Plan, plus informing the development of new documents, such as the Tracks & Trails Strategy.

2.  Equitable open space provision

Ensuring equitable provision of, and access to, open space across the Shire is fundamental to the Strategy. Extensive research and analysis identified locations across the Shire where there is over and under provision of accessible open space. The Strategy includes several strategies and actions to guide the redistribution of open space (where feasible) for provision where it is most needed, whilst considering options for alternative uses of open space that are surplus to requirements. Options to rationalise and/or repurpose open space that no longer serves its original purpose are explored, in particular for the smaller communities of the Shire. Targeted upgrades to existing open spaces are also identified across the Shire’s open space network.

3.  Connections across the open space network

Opportunities to improve accessibility through and between the Shire’s extensive open space network are addressed by the Strategy, including suggested upgrades to main road crossing points, strengthened pedestrian and cycle linkages, and recommendations to improve the recreational trail network (to be considered in further detail by the Tracks & Trails Strategy).

4.  Protection of environmental and cultural heritage values

Natural areas across the Shire form a significant and important component of the open space network. Many of these areas offer high environmental and biodiversity values, which need to be protected from adverse impacts. Reserving significant areas of native vegetation and integrating them into the open space network, together with the appropriate use and management of these spaces, will serve to protect and enhance these areas.

Where appropriate, improving access (and clearly defining appropriate locations for access) provides the opportunity to educate the community in terms of environmental and cultural heritage values, and influence behaviours, through interpretation and greater exposure to these values.

5.  A well designed open space network

Development of open space guidelines will guide the design of open spaces across the Shire and ensure a consistent approach to open space design, underpinned by best practice.  Planning for individual open space parcels should continue through master planning process. Current/recently endorsed master plans should be progressively implemented, out of date master plans reviewed and updated (where relevant) and new master plans undertaken for other strategically important open spaces.

6.  Open space management

With over 200 parcels of open space to manage, and with limited resources available, it is essential that an effective management system is employed. Adopting open space development standards help balance the provision of quality open space facilities that provide for the needs of the community, while at the same time, ensuring provision is sustainable and can be maintained within operational budgets in the long term. The Strategy also includes actions to improve coordination between various land managers and the community; developing and strengthening partnerships with key stakeholders will assist in delivering an integrated and coordinated open space network that meets the current and future needs of the community.

Why are a few smaller open space parcels in Portland identified for potential future land sale?

Analysis of the Shire’s open space network has found that the Shire benefits from high levels of open space. Analysis of ‘walkable’ catchments (the distance a resident must walk to access an open space) within each of the Shire’s main settlements determined that much of the Shire’s community resides within recommended walking distance of a range of open space types and open space facilities.

The analysis did however identify some gaps in the open space network, as well as some specific open space parcels that were considered surplus to the requirements of the broader open space network, and where it was considered there was sufficient open space provided at alternative accessible locations nearby.

One of the key outcomes for the Strategy is to deliver equitable access to open space, making best use of resources to deliver improvements to existing, well located and accessible open spaces, and seeking to provide new open space in areas with identifiable open space shortfalls.

Analysis of the open space network has identified a number of open space parcels that are considered to duplicate open space provision in that area i.e. other suitable open space is available in the area. Additionally, these open space parcels are considered to offer limited amenity, recreation or environmental value, primarily due to the limited overall size of the space, lack of

infrastructure and generally poor accessibility. A number of these open spaces are identified for potential land sale.

The proceeds from the sale of any open space land parcels will be reinvested in upgrades to open space infrastructure in nearby existing and/or future open spaces. The Strategy contains further details.