Although GERA has some reservations re the purchase of this site, GERA welcomes Council’s purchase of this land. The land is in a prime location and in a seriously open space deprived, densely populated major centre. Given Council’s poor past performance in purchasing open space (since the early 2000’s), it is a step in the right direction.
The site has the potential to enhance Council’s recently presented Concept Plans for the Carnegie Centre. However, we question the price paid ($5,294/sqm + unknown costs of conversion to parkland) and the extent to which Council is planning to address Glen Eira’s long term shortage of parkland.
Yep, real estate opportunities need to be acted upon as and when they occur – a point GERA has made in the past. However, Council can also plan to acquire parkland in strategic locations by applying a Parkland Acquisition Overlay (PAO) – this has rarely happened in Glen Eira. A PAO enables Council to “tag” properties (individual and/or adjoining) for future parkland. PAO’s do not involve forecable acquisition – they come into play when the owner opts to sell and allow Council to pay a premium (over market value) to ensure acquisition.
What concerns GERA is that Concept Plans for each major activity centre (a.k.a. Urban Village) are in the process of being presented. The area of all centres has been expanded and show significant increases in development densities, however, none identify areas where a PAO is or could be applied.
We remind readers, that in 2008, Glen Eira was identified as having the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne (less than half the Metro average), since that time development has further outstripped parkland acquisitions by Council resulting in a further decrease in the per capita statistics. Recent opportunities have enabled Council to purchase some individual future “pocket parks” yet such purchases do little to address the increasing demand for parkland. It appears Council has overlooked the long term potential of PAO’s to purchase and expand parkland within Glen Eira.