Community Forum 2022

The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust held a Community forum on 11 August 2022 to provide an update on the activities at the Reserve and within the Trust and provided an opportunity for an open question time.

The presentation and precis of the questions and answers is attached:

  • Link to the presentation from the Community forum on 11 August 2022
  • A precis of the questions and answers from the Community forum on 11 August 2022

August 11 2022 Community forum presentation

The Trust welcomed over 120 registrations received for the Community Forum held on the evening of 11 August 2022, with a very good turn out on the night representing the diverse views within the community.
Several individuals thanked the Trust for the opportunity to meet face to face and for the ongoing open dialogue.
An overview of the process to date was provided, including the reliance on experts, technical reports and evidence to inform the planning. All the diverse and divergent feedback received to date has been considered by the Trust in forming their decisions.
The presentation is available on the Trust’s website under News
Below is a summary of the questions asked on the night and the Trust’s responses. The Trust’s website is also a source of information and people can subscribe here to stay updated.

The urgent and important need for protection of trees and the need for trees to be planted
The Trust acknowledged the important role that trees have in providing habitat, cooling areas and capturing and storing carbon. The Trust reiterated that the Reserve needs to deliver on its three purposes: racing, recreation and a public park and finding a balance for the three uses was a key element in the Land Management Plan (LMP).
The Trust confirmed that the trees removed to date have all been in line with approvals given and the Ministerial Planning Scheme amendment issued in late 2021. The Trust has committed to at least three advanced trees being replanted for every tree removed and this will increase the canopy cover at the Reserve and habitat.
The Trust is working to protect the trees identified in the significant tree register with Tree 7 adjacent to the Track being protected by amending the lease boundary with the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC).

The impact of having synthetic surfaces and paved areas and the need for shade
The Trust acknowledged the concern raised about the inclusion of paved areas and synthetic surfaces. The LMP seeks to find a balance with locating car parking below other infrastructure to minimise the extent of paved areas and to separate pedestrians from vehicle movement. The inclusion of synthetic or paved areas is shown to increase the level of use and activation possible at the Reserve. As racecourse sight lines need to be protected, trees will need to be located strategically to not impede on sight lines, and also maximise shade and habitat.

Biodiversity protection and enhancement at the Reserve including keeping dogs out of the water to protect ducklings. Installation of signs and fences.
The Trust reiterated the direction in the LMP to improve biodiversity at the Reserve through enhancing the northern dam and establishing areas as heathland as would have originally been at the Reserve.
Owners of dogs were reminded it is an offence to let your dog charge or attack another dog and wildlife. Responsible pet ownership and having dogs under effective control is the key at the Reserve.
Installing additional signs and fences around the dams was seen to have limited benefit. Signs and fencing only will only be noticed and observed by people who are already doing the right thing.
The Trust will be seeking greater compliance inspections and patrols by DELWP to enforce the regulations and responsible pet ownership. The Trust is exploring all options to increase compliance at the Reserve.

Installation of Bins
The Trust has arranged for additional bins to be installed by the MRC who are the contractor providing this service. It remains the responsibility of individuals to either take their waste with them or use the bins provided.

Is the perimeter path still planned
The perimeter path was a popular item through the consultation process and remains a priority for the Trust. Large sections of the perimeter trail will occur on the surrounding road reserves and under the control of the Glen Eira City Council.

Why is the southern dam being drained at the moment?
The southern dam is filled from bores and mains water. Works are currently underway to replace the bores with a bore field and to capture water for reuse at the Reserve. This is part of an integrated water plan that has been prepared.
The southern dam will need to be modified slightly along its northern edge to accommodate the MRC maintenance depot as shown on the 2018 Lease and the LMP. The dam will continue to be used for water storage for irrigation until an alternative storage is in place and the northern wetland established.

Access to the Reserve and the racetracks
Access to the track and the Reserve has been reduced for twelve months to enable a safe work environment and safe Reserve whilst the second racetrack is being developed. Access remains through the Guineas tunnel and the Glen Eira Road tunnel. Access to the tracks, the Queens Road and Neerim Road gates will be provided when the works are complete. Access from the western side will be restricted as this is across the MRC freehold land.

Number of race days and community access
The Trust reiterated that the LMP allows for 23 race days and 22 evening races per year. The LMP also seeks to allow for parts of the Reserve to be gazetted for parts of the day for racing rather than the whole Reserve for the whole day.

The extent of any leases and licences at the Reserve
The Trust outlined the leases and licences in place and pending:

  • 2018 Lease to the MRC for 65 years
  • 2018 licence to MRC for 10 years of car parking in the middle of the Reserve.
  • 2022 licence for 12 months for the middle of the Reserve and works zone in two stages to minimise the impacts and align with works programs.
  • Considering an 18-month licence to the Level Crossing Removal Authority for part of the Neerim Stables. The Trust acknowledged concern from the Community over the use of this area and the potential impacts on vegetation, and also flagged the future vision for a community centre in this location.
  • The use of the area by the Level Crossing removal Authority will reduce the impact of truck movements in the local community.
  • Any trees removed will be replaced with advanced trees and more trees and greater canopy cover.\

Consultation needs to be meaningful and ongoing
Concern was flagged that individuals have felt that their views were not accommodated in the final LMP.
The Trust reiterated that in developing the LMP the Trust had to balance many diverse and divergent views it received through the process. The Trust did read and consider every proposal / issue raised and sought to find a balance. The Trust is required to take direction from the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Act 2017, The ministerial direction and the 2018 lease.
The Trust acknowledges there has not been a meeting of the project advisory groups since the LMP was complete and is looking to establish a series of reference groups to support the Trust into the future.

Housing at the Reserve?
The Trust described the potential to use the air rights / space above the proposed Neerim community centre to support other broader social outcomes including the potential for social housing or housing or other uses to target specific groups in the local area.

How did the Trust consider heritage at the Reserve
It was pleasing that all parties support the State significant heritage status of the Reserve. The Trust will be relying on the experts to set any conditions through the hearing process and will not be represented.
The Trust requested the MRC to provide written advice from their heritage consultant on the design work by their architects to support their application and it being consistent with the conservation management plan.
The Trust will seek to work with the MRC to honour the Reserve’s heritage including the long history of training at the Reserve.

The location of the future glass house and what is happening to the heritage tea house
The New glass house is proposed to be located further to the East just past the event deck on Station Street and is proposed as a two-storey building with large outdoor verandas overlooking the Reserve.
The existing glass house will be removed providing the opportunity to restore the historic tea house as a feature gateway to the Reserve.
This is consistent with the plans within the LMP and the Trust has been advised that it will go through a traditional Planning permit process.

Have particular sports already been chosen?
The Trust is still sports agnostic and is working through the request for proposal process and with key stakeholders to identify the sports / users at the Reserve. The Trust is still committed to minimising exclusivity, increasing use and activation of the Reserve whilst supporting local and broader regional needs.
The Trust has undertaken a detailed study to understand the demand and gap in provision for all sports that could be accommodated at the Reserve, which has been used to inform discussions to date.

The need for Sports facilities for women and girls to address the historic imbalance of access
The Trust has committed through the LMP to ensure the Reserve provides for all genders, abilities and backgrounds. The Trust also acknowledged the recent State Government announcement requiring Councils to have a plan in place to address the historic imbalance of use by gender to facilities.

Car parking and the need for car parking
The LMP envisages car parking being located below other infrastructure in recognition of the value and importance of open space in the area. The LMP also seeks to support the shift in how people move in the precinct with a reduced reliance on cars.

The Trust ability to influence what is happening on the MRC freehold land
In developing the LMP, the Trust expressed a view on how the adjoining freehold land along Kambrook Road and Booran Road when developed could enhance the Reserve. This included the need for access, maintaining sight lines and benefits of passive surveillance.
The proposed development on land abutting Kambrook Road and Booran Road is freehold land and does not fall within the Reserve and the Trusts responsibility.
Glen Eira City Council has a Caulfield Station Precinct Structure Plan process and you can find out more about this on the Council’s website at

The Chairperson of the Trust spoke to the importance of advocacy for your own views and needs and encouraged people to advocate for the Reserve and how it can help deliver these desired outcomes.

The Chairperson of the Trust thanked everyone for attending and participating in the forum and invited everyone to the next community forum planned for the 8 December 2022.

Yours Sincerely

General Manager

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