Melton North Precinct Research – Part 1

The 2010 Melton North Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) contains areas for commercial/retail, community facilities and an active open space including a footy/cricket oval. The original plans specified these developments for 2018 but there are no signs that council is considering building any of these facilities any time soon.

Melton North Development Contribution Plan

A 2017 amendment specified the community centre’s provision trigger was ‘No later than 200 occupied dwellings in the precinct.’

The ABS has data on the number of occupied dwellings at the 2021 census. In the 7 SA1 (Statistical Area Level 1) areas that within the PSP, there were 871 occupied private dwellings.

SL1 ID	Area Nickname	Occupied Dwellings
21304135850	Willandra NE	156
21304135852	Coburns Rise	100
21304135857	Willandra SE	109
21304135859	Willandra SW	104
21304135860	Willandra NW	99
21304157610	Pennyroyal	147
21304157612	Little Blind Creek	156

Digging a bit deeper, at the time of the 2021 census, 670 or 77% of the households contained families, 33.6% of residents were 25-40 years old, 30.8% were less than 15 years old and amazingly 13% of the 2,622 people in the area were less than 5 years old which really shows how young the families in the area are. Clearly, these resources are overdue for the quickly growing community

Chart Data:
Row Labels	# People	% People
00-04	347	13.23%
05-09	246	9.38%
10-14	215	8.20%
15-19	99	3.78%
20-24	184	7.02%
25-29	278	10.60%
30-34	345	13.16%
35-39	259	9.88%
40-44	173	6.60%
45-49	102	3.89%
50-54	119	4.54%
55-59	75	2.86%
60-64	57	2.17%
65-69	63	2.40%
70-74	41	1.56%
75-79	19	0.72%
80-84	0	0.00%
85-89	0	0.00%
90-94	0	0.00%
95-99	0	0.00%

Infact, there were more newborns (74 of them) and one-year-olds (75 of them) than any other age at the time! Next highests were 31 y.o. (x72) and 25 y.o. (x71).

The demographic projections in the 2010 PSP foresore this exact situation:

The following demographic characteristics of the community are likely:
• A median age of 28, much younger than the Melbourne Statistical
Division median of 36;
• A much higher percentage of infants aged 0 to 4 years (12.1%
compared to 6.3%);
• A higher percentage of adults aged 25 to 54 years (53.8%
compared to 43.9%);
• A much lower percentage of adults aged 55 to 64 years (4.6%
compared to 10.3%); and
• A much lower percentage of mature adults aged 65 years and over
(2.1% compared 12.8%).

Comparing the satellite view from before the Census and now shows hundreds more houses in the area now and according to Vicplan, there are currently 1,283 properties.

The PSP specifies:

For community infrastructure, contributions are to be made by the home-buyer at the time of building approval. Contributions relating to community infrastructure will be paid for at a “per-dwelling” rate. The Planning and Environment Act 1987 stipulates that the amount that may be contributed under a community infrastructure levy is no more than $1,150 per dwelling.

PSP27 – Melton North DCP – JULY 2011 (Amended June 2017).pdf

This is a payment we made back in 2016. Council has received almost $1.5m in contributions from residents in the area who have seen nothing for it.

And finally, the playground located on Seed St in Kurunjang has been significantly damaged since March 2022, posing a safety hazards for children. Chunks of rubber are missing, leaving exposed concrete that can cause accidents and injuries. It’s sad to see such neglect of the area for so long.

Council Meeting

Cr Vandenberg posted a snippet from the 25 September Council meeting were the council proudly proclaimed it had $380m in surplus with $23m carried over from the previous financial year.

So I decided to throw a couple of questions to Melton Council for their November meeting:

Questions to council: 
1: Can you please provide an update on the development of a sports
ground and community centre, as outlined in the 2010 Melton North
Precinct Structure Plan? These projects were initially scheduled for 2018
but have not been mentioned in the council’s 2023 budget. Additionally,
the 2017 amendment says that the community centre’s provision trigger
is ‘No later than 200 occupied dwellings in the precinct’. There are
almost 900 occupied dwellings in the precinct as of the 2021 census.

2. The Pennyroyal park playground has had chunks of rubber missing and
exposed concrete since at least march 2022. How often does council
check and maintain small local playgrounds?

But the questions ended up being condensed down until they were borderline redacted of critical context:

Question asked of Council:
Can you please provide an update on the development of a sports ground and community centre, as outlined in the 2010 Melton North Precinct Structure Plan?
The Community Centre is scheduled in Council’s infrastructure program for delivery by 2028, whilst the active open space recreation reserve in the Melton North Precinct Structure Plan is planned for operation in 2034.

Question asked of Council:
How often does council check and maintain small local playgrounds, in particular the one on the corner of Parleigh Dr and Seed St, Kurunjang?
Council Officers inspect all playgrounds weekly and conduct a more detailed independent audit 4 times per year. Any defects identified are programmed for repair or replacement as required.

Rather incredulous answers there!

So the community centre and connected Kindergarten is set to be delivered when the current most populous ages will be 6-7 years old and already in primary school, and they won’t get their footy/cricket oval until they’re 13-14 years old and in secondary school!

To rub salt into it, apparently the council has inspected the broken playground at least 90 times and had ‘detailed independent audits’ on it 7 times and done nothing about it?!

What Next?

The most important thing I think needs to happen is that Council needs to provide a progress report of their obligations on all outstanding Precinct Structure Plans.

Other questions that I will seek answers from council about:

  • Why has council ignored the PSP and not prioritised the Community Centre and Active Open Space for development?
  • How much funding is currently allocated for the construction of the community centre and sports ground? 
  • How can local playgrounds be in such a state of disrepair if it’s being inspected weekly and audited quarterly? When will the Pennyroyal Park be repaired?
  • When is the last major part of the precinct at 490-528 Coburns Rd going to be subdivided?