MRC lodges plan for outdoor cinema at Caulfield Racecourse

The Melbourne Racing Club has asked Glen Eira Council for permission to run the summer cinema at Caulfield Racecourse.

It would be located between the racecourse administration building and the racetrack and cater for up to 500 people a session.

Consultants have lodged a planning permit application and details include:

— A mobile 7m high by 11m movie screen on the back of a flat deck truck which would be parked in position each screening night;

— Guests to view movies from the lawns between dusk and 1am;

— Parking to be provided in the Guineas carpark;

— Food and beverages to be available to buy and users to bring or buy picnic meals.

The consultants’ report describes the outdoor cinema as a “unique entertainment experience”.

Melbourne has a number of outdoor cinemas, among them the Moonlight cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens, December — March; and Ben & Jerry’s open air Cinemas at St Kilda’s South Beach Reserve, November-December.

The MRC wants a permit to run its outdoor cinema between November and March, with an option to use the land for an outdoor cinema throughout the year.

MRC spokesman Jake Norton said ticket prices had not yet been decided.

“No. The concept, if the application is successful, would not be rolled out until next summer. Given that timing, as well as the fact that the application has yet to be approved, practical plans around ticketing, event logistics, dates and times, the product itself, content, associated food and beverage offering etc are still some way off,’’ Mr Norton said.

Glen Eira Council granted the MRC a permit for a permanent $3 million super screen at Caulfield Racecourse last year.

That screen displays race day activities including live video feeds, race replays, race day information and sponsor information.

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 COMMENT

The following sentences are taken directly from the formal application. We urge readers to carefully note the hyperbole, the spin, and what this could mean for residents. Most importantly, we have to again question what has happened to the so called ‘agreement’ between Council and the MRC and the role of the Minister and the Department in this entire episode. The standout issues as far as we can see are –

  1. Public Transport does not operate till and after 1am weekdays
  2. Does extending the area for a liquor license fly in the face of the alcohol ban and how would the local constabulary view this attempt?
  3. Is Crown Land again being used for private commercial gain – especially when the MRC claims to be a ‘non-profit’ organisation?
  4. Have the Trustees signed off on this latest effort? Did they give permission for the application to the Department?
  5. Will the centre potentially be used for car parking?
  6. And will council once again cave in – either on the night, or at VCAT?

Here are the quotes:

Access to and parking at the racecourse is available with minimal impact to the community

The proposed outdoor cinema makes use of an entertainment facility that would otherwise lie idle during the proposed hours of operation.

Melbourne Racing Club is the custodian of a range of land holdings associated with and including the Caulfield Racecourse. The land holdings are a combination of freehold and Crown Land. The site which is the subject of this application is known as 31 Station Street and is contained within Crown Land referred to as Allotment A as Caulfield, Parish of Prahran.

The (Glen Eira) MESS notes at clause 21.01-2 that Caulfield Racecourse and Monash University are facilities of metropolitan significance and both are of major importance to the local economy. Further, Clause 21.02-1 Key influences – Advantages and Opportunities, recognises Caulfield Racecourse as a landmark and regional facility that contributes to the attraction and ‘liveability’ of the municipality.

Clause 21.06-2 identifies the objectives and strategies in relation to Business within the municipality, including:

  • To encourage more local employment and attract more local spending in partnership with business
  • Encourage new and innovative retail and commercial activities to establish in the municipality having regard to the hierarchy of centres as well as opportunities to developer appropriate freestanding sites for suitable retail or commercial use.

It is submitted that the proposal will achieve the following key imperatives of the SPPF by:

  • Encouraging a sue that meets the communiy’s needs for entertainment and providing a net community benefit in relation to accessibility, efficient infrastructure use and the aggregation and sustainability of commercial facilities.

With the event proposed at the northern end of the subject site, patrons are within walking sitance of the Caulfield Railway Station interchange (with train, tram and bus services available). The Guineas car park which adjoins the proposed event location will also be available to patrons who choose to drive.

…..any overflow parking requirements can be provided by Melbourne Racing Club’s numerous other car parks.

DPI

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