Generic Plan of Management: Community Land
Response from the Glebe Society
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the City of Sydney’s Draft Generic Plan of Management (DGPOM) for Community Land.  Members of the Society, including members of the Environment Subcommittee and the Blue Wrens group,  have  been involved in preparing this submission.  They perused documents available in libraries, attended the hearings on Wednesday 4 April 2012 and taken up some key queries with Council officers.
The Society’s comments and recommendations follow.
1         The public hearing and public consultation
The public hearing held on 4 April 2012 was attended by two members of the public only, who happened, incidentally, to be Glebe residents, neighbours and members of this Society. We do not believe this event can qualify as proper public hearings or represent the interest in this topic amongst residents of the City.
We understand that advertising of the event was through standard means such as notices in newspapers and on the Council's website. For a specialist matter such as this we suggest that more targeted notification is required, including notification to community groups, landcare/bushcare groups, City Farm members, etc.
Furthermore, the briefing was held on the evening of the Wednesday before Easter and the commencement of the April school holidays, and would have been inconveniently timed for many residents.
We would like to see the hearing re-run, most desirably on two occasions, and accompanied by a public communications strategy, so that all those interested have an opportunity to attend and provide input.
2          Generic Plan, Crown Land plans and Specific Plans
Many of the large and important parks in and around Glebe are Crown Land, and as such not covered by the Local Government Act and the Generic Plan of Management. In addition, as explained in section one of the DGPOM, the City has prepared a number of specific Plans of Management, although these plans are not listed in the DGPOM.
The Plans of Management listed on the City's website relate to both Crown Land parks and Community Land parks with specific plans. The Crown Land Plans of Management are seriously out-of-date as well as listed as 'draft':
Victoria Park, draft plan of management, 1992
Wentworth Park, draft plan of management, 1996
We are aware that a master plan is being developed for the combined Crown Land and Community Land covered by Bicentennial Park, Federal Park, Jubilee Park, Crescent Lands, the Hill and Harold Park open space, with the draft to be completed (following community consultation) by early 2013. We commend Council for this process and recommend that similar plans be developed for all Crown Land parks, with Wentworth Park and Victoria Park as the highest priorities.
We note that Foley Park is covered by a specific plan of management (2006) and Orphan School Creek by a masterplan (2007). We anticipate that following the adoption of the Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan there may be opportunities for the development of further plans to cover potential wildlife corridors, and recommend that this opportunity be addressed promptly.
In summary, we would like to see greater clarity about the management of all parks in DGPOM documentation. This would include:
  • Listing all parks with specific plans of management, master plans or other planning instruments, (whether Crown Land or Community Land), together with target dates for updating these plans.
  • Proposals for individual plans of management for Crown Land parks, with Wentworth Park and Victoria Park as the highest priority.
  • Proposals for individual plans of management for parks and connecting park systems with special characteristics, for example, sites of wildlife corridors, based on outcomes of the Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan.
3          Planning and Policy context
The DGPOM sits within a broad planning framework that includes such plans as the Greening Sydney Plan 2011, and the Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan (forthcoming). At the level of day-to-day park management (which is often the aspect of park maintenance of most interest to residents) we are aware of a number of systems and strategies that support the on-going maintenance of our parks, including contract specifications, use of asset register, register of public art, heritage and conservation studies and significant tree register. It would be of great benefit if a general outline of these systems could be included in the DGPOM and made available on the City's website.
It would also be of interest to residents if the DGPOM included an overview of any major changes in categorisation or objectives for particular parks that may have occurred in updating from the three previous plans.
In summary, we would like to see:
  • All planning & policy instruments relevant to the DGPOM, with their full titles, aims, adoption and review dates, listed and mapped, with their connection to the DGPOM and each other explained.
  • An outline of the systems and processes that Council employs to manage day-to-day maintenance of its parks, as well as ensuring that related concerns such as heritage and conservation are identified and incorporated.
  • An overview of any major changes in categorisation or objectives for particular parks that may have occurred in updating from the three previous plans.
Mairéad Browne
President, Glebe Society