Council is currently holding a ‘consultation’ on establishing a new open space area running between Eskdale Road and Fitzgibbon Crescent in North Caulfield. We have no qualms about increasing the open space areas in the municipality. What we do question is the logic, planning, and whether or not this site is not only appropriate, but even sensible, and whether ratepayers will be getting ‘value for money’ if this goes ahead.

The claim is that this ‘unnamed road’ is in a Gap area identified by the recent Open Space Strategy (OSS). Yes, it is. However, it is less than 500 metres from Caulfield Park (see arrow below). This map, taken from the OSS, clearly shows how bereft North Caulfield is of open space. So why select this particular street when other areas in this ‘gap’ zone are crying out for more open space?

ossNext, is the issue of size. The entire street is roughly 85 metres long. The plans DO NOT intend that the entire street be blocked off, just half – since there are driveways that can’t be blocked. This means that hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent on creating a ‘park’ that will still be part street and not fulfill the ‘multiple purposes’ that was the recommendation of the OSS.

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In response to a public question Council admits to already having spent just under $7,000 for some pretty drawings. When asked what is the anticipated cost in implementing these plans, council responded with – “That is yet to be determined following the outcome of the public consultation process”. Surely when plans are drawn up, there must be some notion of what the expenditure is likely to be? Given Council’s track record, we suggest that the creation of this ‘park’ will not be less than half a million.

We repeat – yes, create open space, but not this hare-brained addition. Not when it is a stone’s throw from Caulfield Park; not when it will be nothing more than a pocket handkerchief in size, and definitely not, when it will cost around half a million dollars, when other areas of North Caulfield are crying out for open space.

ps: we draw readers’ attention to the following.

The OSS contains 6 ‘gap areas’ in North Caulfield. See map below.

Pages from Open_Space_StrategyThe proposed street closure is in gap area CN6. The ‘conclusion’ and hence the ‘recommendation’ that is contained within the OSS (page 170) for this area states: Improve access to the future Crown Allotment 2031 or other future open space associated with Caulfield Racecourse.

On page 172 of the strategy, there are the ‘’open space links’ recommendations for North Caulfield. In relation to this gap area we find: “Investigate the potential to improve pedestrian accessibility in the street network in gap area CN6 and across Booran Road to future open space associated with Caulfield Racecourse.” The priority grading is MEDIUM. There is not one word in the “Individual open space recommendations for Caulfield North” regarding this area!

Thus, we ask:

  • Why has Council chosen this first off, when there are 5 other gap areas identified that are much further away from any open space?
  • Why, when an action is designated as ‘medium’ has this been initiated BEFORE ANY OTHER ATTEMPT TO FILL EXISTING GAPS?