Open Space Policy

Overview

The City of Burnside believes that the open spaces of Burnside contribute immeasurably to the well being and lifestyle of its residents and the amenity of this City by providing for:

  • A significant "greening" of the district;
  • Habitat for birds and other wildlife;
  • Environmental enhancement;
  • Conservation of Burnside's heritage;
  • Areas for organised sport and other functions;
  • Areas for passive recreation and appreciation of nature;
  • A sense of tranquility, and source of inspiration and spiritual refreshment.

"Open space" for the purpose of this policy is defined as land that is set aside and/or used for public (active or passive) recreation and/or possesses significant conservation value.

The policy and definition are underpinned by the following principles:

Preservation/Conservation

Open space should be retained and conserved in order to preserve Burnside's natural and cultural heritage for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations.

Aesthetic and Amenity Value

Open space should be valued for the sense of tranquility it offers, for appreciation of nature, for visual relief in built-up areas, and as a source of inspiration and spiritual refreshment.

Provision of Diversity and Quality

The quality and range of open space settings (from formal playing fields to natural bushland) is the key to ensuring increased and more satisfying leisure opportunities, and enhanced amenity for residents and visitors of all ages.

Equity of Access

Ideally, open space and the benefits which derive from open space should be evenly distributed and accessible to all. In terms of proximity, a small local park within 500 metres of each house has been suggested as a goal.

Community Involvement

The City of Burnside acknowledges that public ownership of open space has been achieved through the foresight and generosity of Burnside's citizens, past and present, as well as strategic acquisitions by the Council. Council recognises that residents place a great deal of importance on retention of the current network of public open space, which is relatively accessible to the majority of residents. It also recognises that such open space is held for the benefit of the community, not as an asset for disposal. Accordingly the community should be involved in decisions regarding open space.

This Policy aims to guide relevant areas of Council decision-making. In addition, Council will seek its endorsement and application by other public agencies.

Strategies

To retain existing Council-owned open space as defined in this policy.

To acquire land:

  • To protect and enhance areas of high conservation value;
  • To improve diversity and quality of open space;
  • To improve equity of access. Although most Burnside residents are within easy walking distance of a park, garden, oval or reserve, a minority of areas are less well served with accessible open space. It is recognised that options for change in a built-up area are limited (often difficult or highly expensive). However, alternatives to acquisition may include:
  • Greening or enhancement of existing sites;
  • Improvement of access to open space in adjoining areas, or on land not owned or controlled by Council;

To link existing open spaces in order to enhance the use, enjoyment and environmental benefits of present open space, for example, by creating trails and allowing creek lines to be accessed and rehabilitated.

To develop a regional planning approach to open space protection and enhancement, including the Metropolitan Open Space System (MOSS), and potential new areas (ie not just the Hills Face Zone), in cooperation with State and Federal agencies and programs as well as community groups and initiatives.

To investigate ways of ensuring that land that is owned by the State or Federal governments, and is of open space value, is protected and managed as community open space.

To ensure the effective integration of this policy with all other policies of Council, for example, the Development Plan.

To maintain and annually review a record of open space in the City of Burnside, to be accessible to the public.

Adjustments to existing open space should only be undertaken to further the Open Space Principles, not for obtaining contributions to "general revenue". Therefore any proceeds from the sale of open space should be placed in the Open Space Reserve Fund and used exclusively to implement the acquisition and development strategies contained in Strategies 2.28.3 (2) and 2.28.3 (3).

To ensure adequate community consultation. If a proposal is presented to the Council to dispose of or exchange open space, and the Council is prepared to contemplate such a proposal, the following process shall be followed before a Council decision is made to dispose of the land:

  • All consultation will include notice by direct mail-out to all property owners within 500 metres of the land concerned;
  • Other methods of publicity will be through a combination of two or more of the following: Council newsletter (depending on timing); Messenger Press advertisement; Notice in Council's column in the Messenger; or Letter box drop;
  • Other methods of canvassing public opinion will involve two or more of the following: Public meeting; Consultation with Ward Councillors; Consultation with recognised community and user groups; and Questionnaire survey or poll; and a minimum period of two months will be allowed for public comment to be received.