Indoor Sports Facility at McIvor Reserve gets the Council nod

Published on 29 March 2023

McIvor Reserve.jpg

Update - 31 March:

The Chief Executive Officer has received a notice of rescission in relation to the decision on the McIvor Reserve Master Plan made by Council on Wednesday night.  This motion will be considered at the next meeting of Council on 18 April 2023.

Council has endorsed a Master Plan for McIvor Reserve in Yarraville that also includes an indoor sports facility - the first for the municipality.

In a split decision, that was passed with the use of the Chair’s casting vote, Council has adopted the Master Plan and authorised the start of schematic design and necessary site planning and due diligence; and to advocate for State and Federal funding to support the plan implementation.

The decision follows a robust and comprehensive engagement to understand the views of neighbours, residents and users particularly, around a range of improvements for this much loved Reserve including more shade, seating, lighting, improved drainage, and public toilets.

The indoor sports facility, which polarised the community and dominated much of the rhetoric during the ten months of engagement, will cover around 65 hundred square metres or four percent of the 18.5 hectare reserve.

Mayor Cr Sarah Carter said Council understands and appreciates concerns expressed by neighbours, residents and dog walkers, around loss of open space, trees, and the associated impacts from increased use, particularly in relation to traffic.

“The bottom line is, McIvor Reserve is the only place we can put an indoor sports facility in Maribyrnong. Council does not own any brownfields sites and there are none available in our municipality that are suitable.”

She added this does not mean Council does not value open space, or trees, or is dismissive of the effects of climate change, or uncaring of neighbours concerned at the effect on their amenity.

“While there are 20 local authorities in Victoria with a lower percentage of open space than Maribyrnong, this does not mean we take what we have for granted, but at the end of the day this is a decision that balances the needs of an evolving and diverse community - and one that continues to grow.”

With Maribyrnong’s population tipped to reach 155,000 by 2051, Mayor Carter said “it simply is not possible for things to ‘stay the way they are’ forever. Times are changing and we need to change with them.”

As is required under Council’s Governance Rules, with the vote tied, the Chair was required to cast the deciding vote - which the Mayor chose to do in favour of the motion stating in her view ‘the inclusion of the sports stadium at McIvor Reserve is the right decision”.

Mayor Carter said she believed councillors have a mandate to serve in the interests of a majority of residents and to plan for, and provide, the community infrastructure that is needed now and for future generations.

“I am here to make the right decisions - prudent, logical, and strategic decisions that serve the interests and wellbeing of the community I have had the honour of serving for 15 years.”

A number of changes have been incorporated into the endorsed Master Plan to mitigate issues and concerns raised during the engagement. In particular:

  • The number of trees to be removed has been reduced - from 163 to 114 - from a total of 625 on the Reserve, with each tree removed replaced by two new trees.
  • An additional 6,000 sqm of open space will be redesignated as an off lead dog area to compensate for the 17.6 percent reduction in the existing dog park.
  • The building footprint for the indoor sports facility has been reduced - to cover 65 hundred square metres of green space, less than four percent of the 18.5 hectares that make up McIvor Reserve.
  • A new signalised intersection and pedestrian crossing will be established at the intersection of Francis and Roberts streets and the new McIvor Road, as the main access point to the Reserve, and a shared path network created to encourage cycling and walking access.
  • Parking on the northern side of Benbow Street and the proposed extension of the Hawkhurst Street car park have been removed.
  • The Yarraville-Footscray Bowls Club will remain as a stand-alone entity, and the Baseball diamond, and playground will remain in their current locations.

No major works can be undertaken without a schematic and detailed design process. Funding will also need to be secured before an indoor sports facility can be built.

Mayor Carter said Council’s commitment during the time this will take, will be to continue to look at ways to further minimise impacts on green space and tree loss; to undertaken additional traffic studies and modelling; to work with dog owners on upgrades to the existing dog park and inclusions for the additional area; and continue to converse with neighbours on the project.

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