In 2018, Planning Panels Victoria recommended that the Minister for Planning become the Responsible Authority for the Debney’s Precinct, including Debney’s Park, for the renewal of the housing estate.
While the Planning Minister became the Responsible Authority for the DHHS land but said that “it is not necessary to become the Responsible Authority for [Debney’s Park] at this time”.
Which raises the question – will there be a time at which the Minister thinks it is necessary to become the Responsible Authority for Debney’s Park, and have control over all planning for the parkland?
Is Moonee Valley Council under some pressure from State Government to deliver community facilities for the 1300 new residents expected to move in when the Flemington housing estate is redeveloped?
If Moonee Valley doesn’t deliver the new facilities, will the Minister for Planning take over as planning authority for our community park? Surely not. Such a move would outrage residents.
But the plans and funding for the community hub have caused community confusion and concern.
Initially there was concern the plans were being rushed through consultation and council processes with surprising inattention to detail.
Residents were particularly concerned that the three options for the hub were all in the one location – right next to the housing estate and in the best, safest part of the park with beautiful mature trees.
Now, the concern has shifted to questions of funding as the funding for the hub has been reduced to $20m and $25m has been set aside for the park.
There is no sign of any funding from either the state or federal governments.
Many residents have been asking:
- What facilities can be funded with $20m?
- What was covered by the $40m plans?
- Will the state government make a contribution?
- Can some of the money allocated to the park be reallocated to the hub?
- Why did MVCC only propose one location fro the hub?
- Why did two of the designs propose a road through the park to a car-park?
- Why was the $1.7m playground constructed in 2011 removed from two of the designs?
- How much of the space in the building will be for council offices and government agencies, and how much for community use?
- Will the community have access to the building after hours and on weekends?
- Why was the school removed in two of the plans, when the Department of Education says they have no plans to move the school?
- Can the school buildings, Hopetoun and the estate buildings include more community facilities for lower cost?
- Why are these plans being developed before we know what is going to be built on the DHHS housing estate land?
Pressure from the State Government might explain the lack of detail and clarity in the initial plans
Any pressure may also be related to prospective development on the housing estate, and a desire by the State Government to locate all community facilities on the parkland, rather than in amongst the new housing as suggested by Planning Panels Victoria.
The Amendment to facilitate the housing renewal program, C177, requires any developer wishing to build the new private and social housing on the currently public land, to potentially show community facilities, and to prepare a Social Infrastructure Assessment:
If the facilities are all provided on the parkland, a developer need not do any heavy lifting with respect to community infrastructure on the housing estate.
Debney’s Park needs a new sporting pavilion and change facilities – this is undisputed.
The park could also do with some extra planting and places for children to play and explore, and natural settings for people to enjoy. A facility for young people to hang out safely would also be beneficial.
A new community centre with affordable, accessible and shared community facilities is also needed – but it needs to be affordable, accessible and get good bang for rate-payer’s dollars.