How much more public money is about to go down the drain because council refuses to accept the outcome of its first round of ‘consultation’ on the proposed redevelopment of Harleston Park? A million dollars was the original planned expenditure for this single park. We are now about to enter another phase of ‘consultation’ if the recommendations are voted through next Tuesday night.

We estimate that close to 90% of resident feedback was against the creation of a basketball area in the park. The vast majority of comments wanted to maintain the park’s passive atmosphere. So what does council do? Does it listen? It recommends a smaller ‘three point’ basketball court in a different spot. No dimensions are given and no comment is made on resident objections to the lurid blue originally suggested. Nor is there any evidence provided that a smaller court will create less noise or less conflict with passive areas.

This entire project raises innumerable  issues:

  • Why does every single park need to be a duplicate of each other – ie. some comments compared the proposals to what has been created in Booran Reserve. We also note that the Australian Standards do endorse that parks should differ and suit the local community. Glen Eira’s ‘interpretation’ of this comes via this paragraph – Public open spaces are a shared community asset. Living in proximity to parks does not afford residents greater rights over the use and development of these spaces than the wider community.
  • Why does council insist on spending a fortune on concrete plinths, so that again and again there is this ‘standardised’ look for all our open spaces?
  • Why can’t council publish concept plans that are legible and clear – which they certainly aren’t in the agenda papers?

We also challenge many of the comments included in the officer report. For example: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles do not suggest lighting necessarily improves safety, and in some cases it may attract people to use the park later in the evening and night. This is not an intended outcome of the project and as such lighting has not been included – consistent with the status quo. 

If this is indeed the case then why has council spent millions upon lighting in so many of our parks – ie Princes Park, Allnutt Park to name just a few. More importantly, both the Victorian Police and Planning Vic recommend park lighting – ie Proper maintenance of landscaping, lighting treatment and other features can assist in the prevention of crime. (



To ensure lighting is carefully integrated to further enhance visibility and natural surveillance of parks and open spaces. (

The bottom line is that the community has been asked for its opinion and they have spoken. Council however is unwilling to accept the majority view based on this report. Possibly this will become another Caulfield Conservatory fiasco where 3 ‘consultations’ were undertaken.

Our position is: –

  • Allow diversity and uniqueness. Don’t clone each park into a pale imitation of each other
  • Give greater emphases to ‘passive’ and ‘green open space’
  • Stop spending a fortune for unnecessary works
  • Stop filling our parks with tons of concrete
  • Develop a playground policy that establishes expected work and budgets
  • And most important – listen to the community!