Will there be further opportunities to provide comment on the final draft?

    Yes, the final stage of community consultation is the public comment period of the draft masterplan.

    How is this project being funded?

    This masterplan project is being funded by the Town. The masterplan will form a key strategic document to guide the short and long term revitalisation of the site, as well as assisting in securing funding. Implementation strategies and funding opportunities will be explored both during and following the masterplan process to determine the most effective means of delivering the project.

    What will the community engagement process be in assisting in the development of the masterplan options?

    Throughout the masterplan process, the Town will have a focus on engaging with the community to uncover needs and wants for Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve. Engagement will take place over five distinct stages. 

    1. Public Life study of informal uses – to be undertaken by consultant
    2. Recreational Needs Assessment of formal recreation uses with formal recreation users
    3. Broad community engagement with an online survey, mapping tool and a pop up event.
    4. Design Reference Group – facilitated by the appointed consultant and project team over three dedicated evening sessions with a self-nominated reference group made up of community members and stakeholder representatives
    5. Public comment - Broad consultation on the final draft in the form of submissions

    What are the key considerations of the masterplan?

    The key considerations of the masterplan include:

    • The addition of a play space at Playfield Reserve;
    • The refurbishment of the Returned Services League Building and investigation into the inclusion of an additional permanent tenant;
    • The creation of a multi-sport clubroom facility potentially accommodating the Higgins Park Tennis Club, Victoria Park Raiders Junior Football Club, Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club and Victoria Park Croquet Club;
    • The preservation of space for AusKick on Higgins Park or Playfield Reserve and formalising the use of Millen Primary School oval for that purpose if considered necessary and appropriate;
    • Enhancements to oval(s) including the surface and lighting;
    • The views, aspirations and user needs of the surrounding local community;
    • The retention of mature trees, and opportunities to increase the current tree canopy;
    • A universally accessible path network within and bounding Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve that integrates with the current and planned surrounding bicycle and pedestrian network;
    • Introduction of all age's fitness equipment and/or personal training areas;
    • Consolidation of play equipment;
    • Water management initiatives (drainage and reticulation), such as a Smart Irrigation System;
    • Car parking configuration and active transport opportunities;
    • The investigation of a possible closure of sections of Playfield Street;
    • The inclusion of infrastructure such as safe bike locks, lighting, water fountains and shelter; and
    • The removal of turf from the sloped boundary areas and/or from under trees, replaced with locally native vegetation and garden beds.

    Why is the project happening?

    The Town understands the importance and benefits of formal recreational spaces to community life, both locally and at a district level. Use by various sporting clubs, as well as future population growth, will increase pressure on this amenity. Given the large land size of Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve, and its key role as a home for formal sport and informal recreation in the Town, consideration needs to be given to its future direction. The Masterplan process will explore options as to how to best accommodate this future direction, making best use of the space available. 

    What are the masterplan objectives?

    The Masterplan will seek to achieve the following project objectives:

    • Optimise regional active recreation opportunities on the Site;
    • Maximise and modernise the recreational offering of the Site;
    • Enhance and provide passive recreation amenity to the local community;
    • Make public open space and Town assets work for the community;
    • Align with and deliver on objectives of the Public Open Space strategy.

    What are the masterplan options?

    • Option 1: Investigation of the development of a synthetic hockey turf on the Hillview Terrace side of Higgins Park (in addition to an Australian Rules Football Oval);
    • Option 2: Consideration of adding two grass hockey pitches on the Hillview Terrace side of Higgins Park, in addition to the synthetic pitch.
    • Option 3: The development of a second oval for a complete football focus should the synthetic hockey turf be considered unfeasible*.

    *unfeasible means that it is prohibitive spatially, financially or the impact on the community is considered unacceptable. 

    What will happen to the existing football club if Option 2 is selected?

    If Option 2 is selected, the spatial restrictions at the site mean that there is no remaining space for the existing football club. This would not be supported by the Town unless a suitable, alternative location for the football club that provided their needs was determined.

    What will happen to the hockey club if Option 3 is selected?

    If Option 3 is selected, the Town will continue to work with the hockey club and hockey institutions to assist them in finding an appropriate location.

    What will the masterplan achieve?

    The master plan will explore the opportunity for the site to form an important sporting node for the immediate community as well as at a district level. This will include master planning of the landscape needs, mapping and massing of required, built form spatial needs and club facilities of the various stakeholders.

    The process will include the development of master plan options. These options will be developed through a co-design workshop process with the Design Reference Group, which will include members of the community and representatives from the stakeholder groups. The options developed through this process will be presented to Council, with the final preferred option selected by the Town’s Elected Members.

    What area is included in the masterplan?

    The site for this master plan includes Higgins Park, Fred Bell Parade and Playfield Reserve, as well as all amenities and clubs within these locations. 

    The Town of Victoria Park has committed to relocating the Victoria Park Croquet Club to co-locate with the Higgins Park Tennis Club. This involves some construction work to accommodate both clubs together. The footprint of this area will push out towards Hill View Terrace by an area of two tennis courts. This work will be taken in to consideration during the masterplan process.

    Why was the community not included in the Recreational Needs Analysis?

    The Higgins Park Needs Analysis was sourced as a tool to understand the complexities of balancing the formal sporting needs of the area. 

    The first stage of the Higgins Park and Playfield Reserve Masterplan included a public life study of use of the park, which was undertaken by the consultant in March 2020. This study, together with the broad engagement through Your Thoughts and direct engagement with the community members of the Design Reference Group, has been undertaken to ensure the community use is understood. 

    These various tools, identifying the formal sporting use needs and the community use needs, will collectively inform the Masterplan. 

    Would a fenced synthetic hockey turf with exclusive access by the hockey club still be counted as public open space?

    Liveable Neighbourhoods identifies facilities such as a hockey turf as public open space under the category of ‘Sport Spaces’. A hockey turf, just the same as a tennis court, is considered Public Open Space. 

    The hockey club has noted that they are open to community and sporting use of the turf, meaning it is not for exclusive use by the hockey club. It is likely that the turf will be able to be booked for other uses on the proviso that the uses do not damage the surface of the turf. 

    What are the infrastructure requirements of the sporting clubs?

    The facilities as preferred by the various sporting clubs are included in the ‘Stakeholder Engagement Summary’ included in the document list.