Petition signatories were sent copies of the Councils Chelsworth Lease FACT SHEET along with an invitation to attend a Meeting on FEB 19th on the future Leasing of the Park.; Other residents can access a copy of the FACT SHEET from Banyules
Customer Service - as well as via Councils website http://www.banyule.vic.gov.au/Council/News-and-Public-otices/Chelsworth-Park-Proposed-Lease and
can also attend that meeting by replying to the RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 February 2014
Residents Questions about
the Lease and comments arising from the Fact Sheet
Through Allison Beckwith, Director Community Programs, at Banyule, two fact sheets
have been prepared to help the community understand current issues related to Chelsworth Park.
FACT SHEET ONE - concerned the Water Harvesting Project at Chelsworth. Some of the grounds were out of action over a period of time
but this project also has environmental benefits for water quality in the Yarra River nearby and for cheaper and more reliable water sources for the playing fields at Chelsworth Park and the greens of the nearby Public Golf Course.
This FACT SHEET - included reference to Ivanhoe Grammar School making a contribution to this project.
FACT SHEET TWO - was compiled following questions from Fairy Hills Ivanhoe and covered a wide range of questions relating
to the Chelsworth Leases( past and future) , and to the financial advantages Council expected to realize from the Lease. We thank Allison and her staff for their committment to public engagement on the Chelworth Lease . Despite a large amount
of very valuable information in the Fact Sheets, however, many questions remain, and indeed some have become clearer in the minds of residents. We present some of concerns here - hoping for further community discussion and interest:
Communication and Consultation
Community Stakeholders NOT invited to Lease Meeting - instead of inviting all potential users of the Park - ie all local sports clubs needing ovals and all
current school users (as the petition requested ) Council has only invited Single Representatives from existing sporting groups to the meeting. In addition the PUBLIC at large have NOT been specifically invited. Why was this action of limiting attendance and limiting consultation chosen ?
- Why havent neighbouring user groups at Chelsworth
Park been invited ? Neighbouring user groups which could be affected by condiditons in the prospective Chelsworth Lease - have NOT been included in the Consultation Meeting - Why ?
- Why havent neighbouring homes surrounding the Park NOT been included in invitations to the Meeting ? Residents near the Chelsworth fields and access roads are
subject to noise and disturbance from potential after hours activities surely they should have the chance to attend the information Meeting - to ask questions about the proposed Lease ?
is the advertising on Councils website for the meeting hidden ? The address, time, date, and RSVP for the Meeting are at the bottom of the Chelsworth Lease Fact Sheet ONLY - Not on the Chelsworth
Park main page - In addition the references on the website specifically invite pettioners and sports club reps ONLY
- Why did Council have " in camera" Meetings on
the Lease- when NO monetary value of the Lease is to be decided until after PUBLIC EXHIBITION of the LEASE ? What legally binding decisions have already been made about the Lease without the PUBLIC being informed ? Which parts
of the prospective Lease will be negotiable and which will NOT ? What is the legal basis for this ?
History of the IGS Lease of Chelsworth Park
- The IGS current lease is available for public viewing via the Councils
Governance Dept - why is this not clear on Councils website ? This document is quite long and covers many issues which we have
had questions about for COUNCIL. Many future potential concerns are dealt with clearly in the previous lease. Having a chance to view this lease has been most instructive in how to potentially handle some of the concerns the community has for a future Lease.
Some highlights below :-
- The Previous Lease provides that IGS manages and maintains BOTH Chelsworth Park AND all buildings erected on the premises.
- An additional pavillion and alterations to buildings were permitted and in fact required under the previous Lease - and within a scheduled Development Plan -
These "improvements" of the premises were to be completed within 3 years of the start of the 20 year Lease ( 1994 ) All the buildings and alterations in all their parts were to be maintained at the lessees expense and kept regularly painted to the City
Hours maintained for Community Use
NEW FACT SHEET says the current Lease provides for a 5 : 1 ratio of hours of Communiy Use compared to hours of use by IGS. ie IGS use is 20% of community use.
The Previous ( current ) Lease gives scheduled hours of use for all parties involved form which various calculations can be made -for example :-
Winter - The OIGFC - Old Ivanhoe Grammarians Football Club can use one of the two main Pavilions 11am - 12 midnight ( 13 hours) on a SATURDAY and
12 noon - 8pm ( 8 hours ) on a Sunday. This is some serious FUNDRAISING and SOCIAL CLUB potential - for JUST ONE CLUB using the Chelsworth facilities to be able to garner in the Lease. The IGS relies on associations such as the OLGFC to provide
a pool of potential donors and supporters of philanthropy to the school. There seems to be a rather special ADVANTAGE to this group of users within the Lease - who also happen to be potential
benefactors to the school. OIG has a very special relationship to the school and the Strategic Plan for the school indicates that it would like to develop similar relationships with other ex students through other
Old Boys and Girls Clubs. The remaining Pavilion was available originally to Yarra Valley Hockey Club until 8pm Saturdays and part of Sundays but for much fewer hours than OIGFC -Residents have not seen documents relating to the replacement
of YVHC at this point in time, - to see who else benefits in this way from the Lease.
- While OIGFC had only a small booking for actual training and games in the current Lease - its Pavilion Booking was very extensive.
- Of the 384 hours of Winter Sports Use
( 9-5 per day ( 8 hours ) X 8 sports fields X 6 days ( Sunday Reserved for Public Passive Use ( no Sports ) - IGS use 106 hours or 27% of the time available for sport (
Doesn't include OIGFC Use )
- If we allow for the remaining 278 hours of the Mon - Sat Sports Use to also contain an alloction for grounds maintenance time - Say a token 10% of total Use Time Available - ( 38.4 hours / week) - then actually only
345.6 hours are available in Winter for Sports Use - this makes the IGS used proportion of Available Winter Sports Time 31% of total time available (NOT 20% as
indicated in the Fact Sheet)
- Add to that thought that other users dont actually have access during all those hours because they are at school or work - Then we see that the proportions of IGS School Sports Use versus Community Sports Use is actually very high. In Winter the hours of available after school
use in the Lease are 3.30pm to 5pm IE 1 & 1/2 hours per day during the week (- much more on Saturdays )
- We can calculate the proportion of IGS
availablity of USE compared to Community Sports availability of Use ( from the schedule in the previous Lease)
- IGS - 1.5 hrs X 6 fields = 9 hrs AH Use : 1.5 hrs X 8 fields Total = 12 hrs = 75%
Tues - IGS - as above = 75%
Wed - IGS - 1hr X 3 fields = 3 hrs ;1.5 hrs X 3 fields = 4.5 hrs; = 7.5 hrs/12 hrs = 62.5 %
Thu - IGS - as for Mon and Tues =75 %
Fri - IGS - as for Mon
Tues Thu = 75%
Sat - all AH USE - 3.5 X 4 fields = 14hrs ; 1.5 X 1 field = 1.5hrs ; Total 15.5hrs in total
hrs of ( 8 X 8 ) = 64 hrs = 25% ) again all
over 20% purported in the FACT SHEET
Asphalt Courts for Tennis and Netball in Proposed Lease ?
- Residents could
find no mention in our viewing of the lease so far of IGS previously leasing the Tennis Courts area at Chelworth Park in the current Lease - including the asphalt courts
- Current speculation
is that IGS will have control of the two asphalt courts at Chelsworth and seek to build further courts for Netball - There has been NO MENTION so far of these courts aslo being available for community use
Other Benefits to IGS in current Lease
- The School under the previous Lease reserves the right to bar any booked event by other users AT NO NOTICE
- The school under the current
( previous ) Lease collects RENT from other USERS ( which it keeps we presume... ) under a regime of fees which are comparable to other rents Council recieves for its parks and facilities across the municipality
Advisory Committee sets fees under current Lease
quorum of 4 is required for the Advisory Committe - who receive all applictions from new users or for new use ; but research has NOT
established the NATURE of the ADVISORY COMMITTEE so far
Finish of the current Lease
deadline of the current Lease is unclear in the new Fact Sheet - It appears to be stated as NOV 2014 ; however the 20 year Lease began in May 1994 ?
- The Fact Sheet states that the current Lease
cannot be extended ; Residents can imagine NO reason in Law that a carryover Lease could not be proposed by Council to extend the period for PUBLIC CONSULTATION on the Lease - if required by the public. Council MUST have the ultimate
flexibility to establish a favourable new Lease on behalf of residents OR NO LEASE AT ALL - if it prefer: In the meantime surely IGS would like to USE Chelsworth for SPORT ? As the Lease will cover a considerable period of time it is in everyones
interest to get it right
- Councils Resolution to enter negotiations with IGS was made at an in camera meeting - The terms of Councils Resolution are unclear
to the PUBLIC - IE Is the Council committed by CONTRACT to IGS to RENEW the Chelsworth LEASE ? Or is the negotiation of the Lease one of total flexibility for Council ? The community needs to know where it stands on this point.
Council should release any contracts it has with IGS and be honest with the PUBLIC
- Announcements have publicly been made by Council that IGS
will contribute $1million towards the water Harvesting Project. How can Council be sure of this ? The amount of $1million is tied into the 20 year Proposed Lease for Chelsworth Park as seen in the NEW Fact Sheet - Yet
the amount is actually a rental for the Park over that time and that rental continues into a further 10 year extension of the Lease. Has Council Guaranteed the school this Lease already ? Is The Public consultation on the Lease a sham ?
- The Fact sheet explains that Capital Works will be funded by IGS at Chelsworth in the new proposed Lease . Shouldn't the Community
know what these proposals ARE - before the Lease is signed ? They are NOT EXPLAINED IN THE FACT SHEET . In addition to which facilities could in the future be altered or extended, or if any NEW buildings are proposed, the community would perhaps
wish to know who will use these new facilities in the main ? - What are the hours of use ? - and what other restrictions might be imposed on their use ? It is particulary important to know which groups may have the most access to potential
FUNDRAISING facilities locked into the Lease - especially in the evenings and on weekends
- Will the capital works include a club house for IGS near the NEW proposed Netball Courts ?
- Will the hours of use of any new or altered facilities be contained to day time use ?
- Will lights be used for night time Games ? Could
lights affect wildlife inthis sensitive location ?
- Could lights, noise, and fundraising activities, using alcohol or music affect neighbours close to this part of Chelsworth Park OR
affect of the safety of young children using the Scouts Pavilion nearby ?
Proposing a an improved financial position for Council
- Fact Sheet
-" Council is proposing to renew the existing Lease and negotiate an improved financial position for Council" - Fine, but where is the evidence please ? Is the proposed Lease " exceptional value " .... ? for the Banyule
community ? ALL of the Banyule COMMUNITY ?
- $1million over 20 years is -( less than - due to inflation.. and cost of living rises.. ) $50,000
per year ; this amount is for a very large tract of land, well serviced, with several locations of shady car parking, and with cheap water ( recycled ) laid on in droughts - to enable soft green surfaces year round; The Land includes 8
well spaced playing fields and surrounding landscaping. This type of land is rare now in Melbourne, and very expensive when it becomes available.
- The land includes the change facilities and toilets
already built and serviced with electricity and gas for BBQs ; plumbing storage and facilities for cooking ; and a secluded outlook away from neighbours so that the outdoor ambience can be enjoyed all year round without disruption - all assets the school
does NOT need to to aquire and coming free of charge with the Lease
- $50,000 - per year; - is equal to about a median level house for rent for a year in Ivanhoe, The school owns
several properties in Ivanhoe itself and from some it receives rent, commercial leases of similar sized property bring in more.
- $50,000 also equates to about 2 Yr 10-12 students at IGS (
Total popn 1400 but expected to be higher) ( Fees 2013 are $23,000 per head) and yet sport provides a large part ofthe culture at IGS and a reasonable amount of curriculum time
- The International Students
at IGS - pay $30,000 -
- The Chelsworth grounds allow the school to expand its population on its Ridgeway campus and cannabilise its grounds with more buildings - The
overflow of sporting demand will just be moved to Chelsworth - this allows the school to take in perhaps another 250 students -many of them International Students and so the small cost of the Chelsworth Lease is easily recovered
- Another way for the school to recover its costs is via the water savings achieved from the recycled water project - As Melbournes water supplies have dwindled and the state took on an expensive Desal project - water
prices have skyrocketed and Yarra River Water has been quaratined for the Environment - A previously cheap form of water - This is no lomger as readily available
- It seems like IGS is really paying "Peanuts" for the Use
of Chelsworth Park and even with maintenance costs added it is getting a much better deal than if it had to buy prepare, and develop the land iself. Investing in anew land purchase would tie up considerable school funds over a very long period.
- If the School is getting a bargain with the Proposed Lease - what about the community ? If Council maintained and controlled the land it would have many extra costs in managing
booking arrangements and also in turf management and buildings maintenance ; HOWEVER it could recover these costs by charging differential Fees to private schools. As the user groups of Council land are a mix of private and goverment schools and
community groups - one comes to the question - Should ratepayers subsidise a private money making institution ? Shouldnt commercial rents be charged for this type of user ? Private schools such as IGS DONT offer low cost education for everyone
- like Govt schools do. They dont take in disabled and disadvantaged students iE they dont pull their weight in the community education effort . There are many reasons for charging IGS more for the space it uses AND as of now the COUNCIL
HAS NOT DEMONSTRATED IN DOLLAR TERMS - how the community is better off financially with the proped arrangement .
Savings to COUNCIL in the Chelsworth Leas
- Council claims it saves two grounds-staff by leasing Chelsworth - But is there really sufficient work there
for two staff full time ? Obviously two satff would be an extreme luxury - but are they really required > What are the tasks that take place over the year ? or during every week .The watering system is automated, the grounds are used lighlty and dont
have to be relaid ( apart from Cricket turf ) Perhaps users who generate more maintenance should pay higher fees to covr costs ?
- Is the true cost of the Schools Maintemance
at Chelsworth being clearly demonstrated ? - While IGS claims it needs two staff to service this ground - it is rare to see staff working here 8 hours a day X 5 days per week . The staff that are nominated for Chelsworth Park Duties
also have other tasks at the school.
- Do users of other Council Parks pay enough to cover costs ? If so - why not here ? Council should be much clearer in its analysis of the
relevant costs - so the community can value in the proposed arrangement
- According to the current Lease all clubs at Chelsworth are paying comparable rents to users at other parks -
If this is the case then Council should be able to cover all the costs invlved with Chelsworth Maintenance Council is yet to explain why Chelworth NEEDS to be a special case
If you have more questions about the Chelsworth
Park current or future Lease ;
- you can email them to this website via our contact page
- OR attend the two
Public Meetings on the Lease and share your thoughts
Sunday16th FEB Seddon St Uniting Church Hall 2-4pm
Wed 19th FEB Mc Cubbin Room The Centre Ivanhoe 6.30-7.30pm
(As we mull over our thoughts prior to the COUNCILs Wednesday meeting, we may well be able to make better use of the SHORT time available during the COUNCILS' PUBLIC MEETING on the WEDNESDAY
EVENING. We hope BOTH meetings will create greater awaremess of the PUBLICATION of the LEASE and equip people with ideas on how to respond with their submissions to COUNCIL when the NEW LEASE is released for PUBLIC comment - The comment period will be short
- so we are attempting to be well prepared.)