Here is a summary of what we know in relation to the Caulfield Racecourse:

  • There are 4 (not 2) Land Management Plans for the racecourse. Two are by the Trustees – one is a plan that includes training and the other plan is designed without training facilities. The third Land Management Plan is from the MRC (with State Government funding). The fourth plan (yet to be completed we understand) comes from the Melbourne Planning Authority (MPA) whose brief is to come up with a ‘precinct plan’ for Caulfield.
  • The role of the MPA and its recommendations are crucial since both Plan Melbourne and Plan Melbourne Refresh designate ‘Caulfield’ (or what we presume to correlate with the Phoenix Precinct) as a major ‘employment hub’. Issues such as zoning, open space, transport and development are to feature prominently. Whether or not this plan will incorporate parts of Stonnington (as it should) we do not know at this point.
  • So we now appear to have the most farcical situation possible. The MPA as the overarching authority will bring down a ‘precinct plan’ that in all probability is not co-ordinated with the State Government’s review of the zones, or the Better Apartments review, or even the consolidation of Plan Melbourne Refresh.
  • Monash University is closing Berwick campus and seeking to rezone the land and then undoubtedly aims to sell it off for residential/mixed use development. That will provide them with the necessary funds to proceed full bore with their Fusion project for the Caulfield Campus. We remind readers that this involves (at this stage) the development of 800+ student accommodation facilities, plus the development of the entire Plaza area.
  • We also believe that Council were offered the opportunity to be ‘the committee of management’ for the centre of the racecourse but knocked this back. Whether all councillors were made aware of this ‘offer’ is a moot point.
  • The trustees will go, but what will replace them is still to be determined. Apparently the Minister does not have the power to sack them. Legislation has to be rescinded first, and then new legislation introduced.
  • Community groups will be presenting to a parliamentary committee in early April. What influence these presentations will have, and how genuine the intent to listen to community views, remains to be seen.
  • Yesterday (March 19th) there was another concert. Once again, the noise levels were unacceptable and could be heard from a kilometre away!

Some observations on the release of the minutes from 2014 –

  • Why these minutes should appear now (18 months later) is open to speculation. The fact that neither the agenda, nor the minutes from the last meeting were published does not fill us with confidence that things are changing on the Trust. It will be interesting to see whether any agenda and/or minutes will be published for the March 30 meeting.
  • Only one MRC member was highlighted in these minutes in relation to conflict of interest. Given that leases were discussed means, in our view, that ALL MRC members of the trust could be perceived to have a conflict of interest and not just one individual.
  • The alleged 2009 ‘governance’ document has never seen the light of day.
  • The fact that councillor representatives are ‘gagged’ is mind boggling. Even more mind boggling is the fact that these same councillors have accepted this situation!

CONCLUSION

  • An all mighty mess that has lasted for 150 years and looks like continuing for some time yet.

PS: the October 2014 minutes are uploaded here

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