Inquiry into Environmental Infrastructure for Growing Populations
Glen Eira Council Submission
The benefits of open space and green infrastructure are well known. As private open space
decreases our urban open spaces have been shown to be crucial to public health, well‐being and the
ability of cities to adapt to the challenges of climate change. These spaces also provide visual
amenity for those residents living in close proximity and to those passing through.
Glen Eira has a deficiency in open space provision, the lowest of any metropolitan Melbourne
municipality. As a comparison, Glen Eira contains 12m2 of open space per person, whereby
Kingston and Bayside Councils contain 83m2 and 45m2 respectively.
Glen Eira City Council has a range of municipal focused strategies and plans to address these
challenges, however developing new open spaces and green infrastructure in established urban
environments is rarely straightforward, and often is the last piece of public infrastructure
The estimated population of Glen Eira in 2006 was 128,000, in 2019 this grew to 155,000, and is
forecast to be 180,000 by 2036. Urban infill development is decreasing the amount of private open
space while increasing demand for, and use of, a limited amount of public open space.
There are significant challenges in addressing the historical deficits in open space provision in
established areas. Providing green infrastructure is often at odds of accommodating population
Current legislation and planning provisions only provide limited ability to effectively secure or
enhance green environmental infrastructure. Structure planning for urban renewal sites and activity
centres, includes provision for open space, however the quantum and quality varies.
In Glen Eira, there is a large amount of public open space that is located within government‐
controlled areas, including schools and Caulfield racecourse. These areas should be more readily
available for the general population to utilise so that it does not remain confined to a certain
proportion of residents.
This past year has also brought about new challenges in the provision of open space/parks for
peoples physical and mental health. In the current climate of Covid‐19, having public open space
close to where you live has never been of such crucial importance. For those who do not have a
backyard or private open space area outside such as a balcony, being close to these spaces has
provided an area to allow for exercise outside. This is so important right now and will most likely be
something that needs to remain as a prime factor for where people choose to live. By ensuring that
some form of public open space is within a close, walkable distance of a person’s home, the variety
of dwellings will not be hindered. Having these spaces accessible to all different people with varying
needs will also need to be a focus.
Environmental Infrastructure Inquiry
Action and Opportunities
Green infrastructure needs to be prioritised and considered along side population targets to meet
State Government goals on climate change adaption, urban forests, resilience and liveability.
Providing additional green infrastructure on private land will require a shift away from current
planning practices and approach. Specifically, this needs to translate into planning and policy that
reflects an understanding of how green spaces are integrated with the built environment.
Suggested opportunities include:
A focus on sustainable built environments with a state‐wide ESD Policy in the Victorian
Review the effectiveness of current legislation and planning provisions in securing
Placing a higher value on existing open space and public realm amenity to prevent
overshadowing or removing opportunities for green infrastructure. Stronger controls to
protect existing green spaces against non‐open space development
Placing a higher value on the landscape amenity and environmental benefits that public
open spaces bring.
Consideration of appropriate open space contributions to enable meaningful open space
and green infrastructure investment. High density residential development leverages off the
amenity of established areas, without commensurate contribution to the character or
protection of these areas.
Support for local governments to fund and invest in the creation of new open space in
established areas that fall outside the legislative remit of developer contributions. This is
particularly important for securing or purchasing land for future open space.
The Victorian Planning Authority could expand the land contribution (for open space) in
significant development sites beyond 10% especially in areas where open space is
significantly deficient, and which cannot be replicated following development.
To ensure that public open space is provided within a convenient walking distance from
homes and accessible to all different people with varying needs.
Identify strategies to secure the provision of larger reserves (not just pocket parks) in
urbanised areas to meet the diverse recreational needs of a growing population.
Aim to make government controlled open space, eg. schools and Caulfield racecourse, more
accessible for the general population
New and enhanced open space and green infrastructure will create parks, spaces and suburbs where
people will want to live now and leave a vital legacy for future generations.