Open Space Strategy

Council is developing a new Open Space Strategy to provide strategic direction for the planning, management and delivery of public open space. 

Towns and villages in the Macedon Ranges are surrounded by significant landscapes and contain a diversity of open spaces. These have high aesthetic, conservation, biodiversity, social, economic, and cultural heritage values.

Council owns and manages over 900 hectares of open space including public parks, waterways, recreation reserves and bushland conservation reserves.

Some towns are growing, the climate is changing and new recreation trends are emerging. How we provide high quality open spaces needs to be managed equitably throughout the shire.

Strategic decisions must be made about the future of parks, sporting fields and recreation to balance the needs of the wider community with protecting the natural beauty of the shire.

The strategy will provide clear direction to Council on current and future open space requirements to service the shire’s existing and growing community.  

Why are we doing this?

Council's existing Open Space Strategy is a 10-year plan due for an update to respond to current open space challenges and opportunities.

Council wishes to assign resources and act to where it is likely to have the biggest impact, so key part of the open space strategy development is setting clear priorities.

The new Open Space Strategy will:

  • Reinforce the benefits of parks, reserves and open spaces in achieving Council’s strategic direction towards community health and wellbeing.
  • Provide clear direction to Council on current and future open space requirements to service the shire’s existing and growing community.
  • Provide open spaces that are sustainable, engaging, and accessible for a broad range of users in the community.
  • Provide a framework for the management and delivery of open space, including priorities for investment and direction on the use of Council’s open space reserve fund.
  • Ensure adequate land, landscaping and facilities are provided for new open space areas as part of future development.
  • Provide the strategic basis for collection of open space contributions for the provision and improvement of open space.

The Open Space Strategy will determine how the Council invests in infrastructure and manages day-to-day operation of open space. These factors directly affect many local community members, park users, recreation, sporting and environmental groups and volunteers.

Our project team

Council has engaged open space consultants Xyst to undertake the Open Space Strategy (OSS).

Xyst is an open space planning consultancy that specialises in parkland and open space strategies. Council has also signed up to Xyst’s benchmarking tool, Yardstick, to gather data to measure the performance of parks and their facilities. This data will be used to inform the project.

Engagement specialists i.e.community have joined the team to recruit the Open Space Community Assembly and facilitate the deliberative engagement sessions that will help inform the plan.

Council’s Strategic Planning unit is leading the project, seeking input from an internal project team with representatives from key departments including Environment, Open Space and Recreation, Asset Management and Facilities and Operations.

Project stages

Stage 1 - Issues and opportunities

Phase 1 - Consultation (current stage)

Stage 2 - Supply and demand analysis

Community assembly

Stage 3 - Draft Open Space Strategy

Phase 2 - Consultation

Stage 4 - Final Open Space Strategy

Planning Scheme Amendment

Consultation feedback

Phase 1 Consultation for the Open Space Strategy ran for eight weeks from 14 February to 8 April 2022.

Community members shared their views in a survey and other consultation activities on future priorities and levels of service at parks and reserves.

A total of 165 people responded to the survey, telling us how they currently use open spaces and their views on investment priorities across the shire.

Community engagement activities included drop-in sessions held at Gisborne, Romsey and Kyneton, markets at Lancefield, Woodend and Riddells Creek and online webinars.

Thank you to everyone who participated or provided other feedback.

Information collected during this phase will be used to inform a strategy that responds to the needs and expectations of the Macedon Ranges community.

Community Assembly

A total of 27 community members were appointed to the assembly following an open selection process independently managed by deliberative engagement specialists i.e. community.

The Assembly recruitment process had delivered a terrific mix of people of diverse ages and backgrounds, achieving a good representation of the Macedon Ranges community.

Assembly members met for deliberative sessions on 21 and 28 May 2022 to develop their understanding of the Open Space Strategy process and to set community priorities for the future of the shire’s parks, playgrounds, sporting facilities and conservation areas.

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung elder Uncle Ringo Terrick welcomed the Assembly to  Country.  He spoke to the importance of open natural spaces as places of connection and community and inclusion of traditional owner values related to open space.

The first day focused on setting the broader context for the Open Space Strategy, providing the opportunity for the Assembly to make sense of the background information, the key issues and opportunities for Open Space, and their task for deliberation. The day concluded with the Assembly working together to set the community priorities for open space in the shire.

The second day explored seven primary townships of the Macedon Ranges Shire  in greater detail with the assembly providing feedback on primary uses of open space and what trends and developments need to be considered, and tested a number of scenarios designed to assist with decision making priorities for the strategy.

The Mayor and Councillors were invited to attend the final day’s session on 28 May 2022 to meet with participants and reinforce support for the process.

Next steps

Reports on the process and outcomes from the Assembly will be presented in a formal briefing to Councillors. This input, along with all other public feedback and survey responses, will be used to inform the draft Open Space Strategy being developed by consultants and the project team.

This draft strategy is due to be considered by Council later this year. Further public consultation on the draft will be conducted before the final Open Space Strategy is refined and presented to Council for adoption.

Stay informed

You can also register your details to receive regular email updates about the project .

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a one-on-one meeting with a member of the project team, contact Strategic Planning on (03) 5422 0333 or email strategicplanning@mrsc.vic.gov.au