Friday, April 29, 2011

Caulfield Racecourse centre -agreement approved

During the week there were several important decisions by Council including;
Caulfield Racecourse - use - item 9.12 Council Meeting Wed 27th April
The draft agreement between Council and the Melbourne Racing Club was approved ;
My speech in seconding the item;
This draft agreement I believe represents and provides for a solid foundation for the present and future improvement of the access, amenity and usage by the community of the racecourse centre.
Through this agreement, the MRC can no longer deny the wider community its due rights to share the racecourse on equal terms and should continue to engage and improve community involvement on the crown land it occupies and shares.
If adapted this agreement will be viewed in future years as a productive beginning not a culmination of that involvement. Our negotiating team have done a commendable job in brokering this agreement given the reality of being in the present negotiation process conducted between Council and the Melbourne Racing Club.

There will need to be ongoing co-operation between both parties to ensure that all aspects of this agreement are fulfilled and delivered- this will require the continued goodwill on both sides.
As well as the on-ground aspects, this agreement is a demonstration of good faith and a willingness to work together in delivering the better outcomes the agreement outlines. This approach should be encouraged.

The key features of the agreement are:
New Amenities - as the attached diagram shows the centre will be developed with five major usage areas namingly
-a bbq and picnic area including toilets and public parking
-lakeside fishing and boardwalk area
-fenced off-leash dog and agility exercise area
-grassed soccer and passive open recreation fields
-fitness and exercise zone including jogging/walking paths and on-leash dog walking

These are all significant advances on the current arrangements as are the following;
- Fencing removed - over a staggered timeframe the majority of the perimeter fencing around the racecourse will be removed including the entire Queen St frontage, noting that there is a willingness by the MRC to complete this large section sooner than the agreed five years.
- Community events - there will be four community events per annum staged in the centre - an important aspect of the agreement that will bring large numbers of residents into the racecourse and provide a sense of awareness and appreciation of the new facilities and the site in general.
- Parking - the parking arrangements which restrict parking in the centre on the whole to race and the ten major event days whilst acknowledging aren’t ideal are workable. I accept they were the best arrangements that could be agreed by both parties in the conducted negotiations.
- Improved public access - there will be better public access through the provision of a new separated walkway in the tunnel and also a pedestrian walkway opened up from Glenhuntly Park in Neerim rd – there will be unrestricted access to the entire centre from 930am on all available days.
-Funding - the MRC will pay for and fund all improvements except those on council land or will share costs where on boundaries ie Queens St fence removal.
-Timeline - all the improvements outlined in the agreement have been given reasonable definitive timeframes to be completed .
To reject this agreement as some of my collegues are urging would place at great risk the entire range of community benefits negotiated and also the future co-operation and the good-will advanced between parties to deliver these. This would be a retrograde step- a risk I am not prepared to take. This item is not about past history, personal crusades, personalities or individual grievences – its about delivering tangible real benefits now and continuing to do so whilst building upon these in the future years ahead.
As such I will be supporting this motion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Neil,

    As we approach 12 months since the signing of this agreement, it is probably worthwhile checking how things have prgressed. Yes the MRC have had C60 ratified by the State Government and tenders have been decided for the construction but what about the promises to residents?