Tag Archives: Caulfield

MORE HERITAGE LOST ??????

GERA supports the National Trust, RSL and the Glen Eira Historical Society in urging residents to  contact Council/Councillors to request

  • An independent heritage advisors assessment of the historical significance of a rare World War 1 Soldiers Rest Home located at 294 Kooyong Road, Caulfield, within the context of the City of Glen Eira. This Rest Home, built by public subscription and known as the Caulfield Rest Home (later Montgomery House), was formerly operated by the Red Cross and staffed by volunteer nurses.  The building is not currently protected by a Heritage Overlay.
  • Deferring the decision on Planning Permit Application (GE/PP-28748/2015), beyond 17th May, 2016, to allow for
    • Preparation and assessment of an Independent Heritage Advisor’s Report on the historic significance/merits of the Caulfield Rest Home within the context of the City of Glen Eira, and
    • Heritage Victoria to receive submission and assess the historic significance/merits of Montgomery House within the context of Victoria.

The above planning permit seeks to demolish the Caulfield Rest Home (in 2017) to provide an additional 30 beds within a planned new Aged Care/Dementia  Facility, operated by an independent Christian charity (HammondCare) and located adjacent to the Caulfield Hospital.

Those advocating retention of the Caulfield Rest Home are not opposing the continuation of the site’s usage for the provision of aged and/or dementia care.  Rather they are advocating that the development of the new facility should not be at the expense of heritage and that the Caulfield Rest Home could and should be integrated within the proposed development.   Such integration would be in accordance with the heritage and planning objectives included in

  • The Victorian the 1987 Planning and Environment Act and
  • Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme
    • Municipal Strategic Statement, and
    • Heritage Clause 21.10, and
    • Local Policies

While HammondCare is proposing a pictorial record, memorial pavilion and poppy garden instead of incorporating the Rest Home within the proposed new facilities this is seen as a poor substitute when  the “real thing” could be retained rather than lost forever.

Recent media and internet articles referring to the historic significance of the Caulfield Rest Home are:

A summary of the above articles is as follows:

Today T

  • The Caulfield Rest Home is the last intact building from Caulfield Hospital’s era as one of Australia’s biggest World War I repatriation hospitals.  Built in 1916 entirely by funds and materials raised/donated by the local community, it was an outpatient home for World War 1 soldiers, providing support, comfort and friendship for recovering soldiers.  Prior to the advent of purpose built rest homes, convalescing (from major/catastrophic injuries) soldiers were inappropriately housed in the verandahs and dinning rooms of military hospitals with little opportunity to socialize (with families or fellow patients) or to acquire new skills to aid their re-entry into the community.

Skills

  • The Caulfield Rest Home continued to play an important part in Red Cross Services during and between two world wars. From 1958 it operated as a handicraft centre in the grounds of the then Southern Memorial Hospital, until the Red Cross’ lease expired in 1976. In 2000 it was renovated and re-opened in 2001 as Montgomery Nursing Home with 30 beds for dementia and aged care patients. In 2015 the site was leased by HammondCare.
  •  The Caulfield Rest Home is believed to be the only purpose-built rest home remaining in Victoria and one of the only surviving tangible links to a highly significant period of Caulfield’s history.

 For readers wishing to contact Council/Councillors and object to this planning permit application, a proposed objection and Council/Councillor contact details are available on the Trust Advocate website.

Coming less than 12 months after the appalling  loss of Frogmore, GERA urges readers ensure their views are made known to Council.

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.

ELECTRONIC SCREEN ON PUBLIC PARK AND RECREATION GROUNDS

ELECTRONIC SCREEN UPDATE – 26/5/2014

 View of the screen from the Centre of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve picnic facilities.

Last Tuesday’s Council Meeting (20/5/2014) granted approval for the erection of an enormous electronic screen on the Caulfield Racecourse (see below posting). The permanent screen will be located, in front of the grandstand, on  Crown Land that is designated as a public park and recreation area. The screen will be used for live racing feeds on race days (27 pa) and sponsorship promotions during both racing and non-racing events.

Much of the discussion, leading up to the formal vote for screen approval, related to the benefits derived by MRC and race patrons (ie. additional income stream, attractive to grandstand users) rather than the adverse visual impact on the parkland and parkland users.  However, the “major” argument presented for approving the screen was that such approval would remove the MRC’s ability to argue against the future provision of sporting facilities on the Racecourse Centre’s public parkland.

While GERA has reservations re the adoption of this approach, GERA sincerely hopes that approval to permanently erect a screen of this magnitude results in increased sporting facilities in the centre of the racecourse in the near future.

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INITIAL ELECTRONIC SCREEN POSTING – 19/5/2014

At tomorrow’s Council Meeting, Council will vote on the Melbourne Racing Clubs planning permit application for the permanent installation of a huge electronic screen on Crown Land in an area designated for public parkland and public recreation usage.

Leader Article 22 4 2014

As reported in the Leader – 22/04/2014 the screen will

  • “rival the largest racetrack screens in the southern hemisphere
  • at 13.11m, would be about the height of a four-storey building
  • be 42.3m wide – larger than a basketball court and 8m shy of an Olympic sized swimming pool”
  • have a screen area of 427.6 sqm – larger that the designated minimum lot size for large lot subdivisions in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. (GERA’s additional comment).

Viewed from the centre of the racecourse picnic area, the visual impact of the screen will be

BEFORE

AFTER

Please note the above picture superimposes the screen diagram (as per documentation presented by the MRC) on the above “before” photo.  Screen positioning is aligned with the pitch of the access tunnel entrance roof.

In support of the planning permit application the MRC comments that

  • within the context of the existing racecourse built forms (eg. grandstands, entrance structures) and the proposed plantings immediately behind the screen, the screen “will not have a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area … and]…will have no material impact on the park or it’s users”
  • “the loss of the view of the grandstands has no relevance as the grandstand is not a protected building”
  • “will significantly add to the functionality and entertainment value offered to the race going public’’ by displaying live video feeds, race replays, race day and sponsor information.
  • although the Leader Article referenced reports an MRC representative as saying the screen “would not be used for advertising”, at the Council held Planning Conference (25/4/2014) the attending MRC representative said it would also be used to promote sponsors during other events held at the racecourse.
  • that the screen dimensions are in line with similar screens installed in other Australian racecourses.
  • the permanent screen would replace the temporary** screen currently being used and is approximately 5 times the size of that screen. (Readers should note that current screen, previously referred to as a portable screen, is on a trailer structure that is in place during race days and stored on non-racing days)

GERA believes that this electronic screen planning permit application should not be granted and that an amended scaled down permit application, that is more appropriate to the reserve’s parkland usage, should be submitted.  GERA considers that

  • the screen is to be permanently located on crown land in an area designated for use as a public park and public recreation.
  • the screen’s proposed dimensions have a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the park and it’s users.  This loss of visual amenity is not mitigated by surrounding built forms or proposed plantings.
  • the predicted limited usage of the screen (ie 27 racing afternoons per year and 10 non racing event days per year) is not sufficient to justify this permanent and prominent intrusion (365 days per year) on parkland.
  • it is inappropriate to permanently locate signage, which will also be used to promote MRC sponsors’s products and services, on publicly owned parkland.
  • that the argument that the screen’s size is consistent with those installed at other Australian racecourses does not recognise the designated  parkland and recreation usage that applies to the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.  The screens referenced in the permit application are located on either crown land designated for racecourse purposes only or on free-hold racing club owned land.
  • it is not in accordance with Council’s March, 2013, Position Statement on the Crown Land known as the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve. (Council Minutes March, 2014 – item 9.10)

Since the Officers Report ( Council Meeting Agenda – 20/5/2014 – Item 9.4) recommends approval of the huge electronic screen, GERA encourages our members and readers to contact Councillors to express their views.  Councillor Contact Details

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Footnotes

*A  large lot is defined as being a property lot greater than 2000 sqm.

** The current temporary/portable screen

Portable Screen