Opening up spaces

Zoe Moffatt

Hume council has endorsed its draft Open Space Strategy for six weeks of community consultation, in the aim to set out directions and commitments to meet the ongoing community open space needs.

In the agenda, council said the strategy seeks to protect and grow Hume’s open space assets by setting priorities for the next 15 years.

The Hume area is home to more than 588 reserves and 440 walkways covering more than seven per cent of the municipality.

At a meeting on April 29, councillor Jarrod Bell said across Hume almost 95 per cent of homes are within a 400 metre walk of an open space in the municipality.

“However, there are certain within our community that don’t have that access,” he said. “We have a draft plan to have a look at fixing that.

“This [strategy] updates our 2010 plan and talks about our plans and our priorities moving forward into the next 15 years.

“We need a plan and strategy to guide and lead us as a community, as an organisation into supporting [and] improving these open scapes, ensuring they continue to be relevant, useful and enjoyable places.”

Cr Bell said the plan has been developed in conjunction with traditional owners, with a goal of protecting things like waterways.

“I encourage the community to take a moment, have a look at the document, consider what it means for you and your family and have your say to make this document… better,” he said.

The draft strategy applies the framework of protect, optimise and grow. Council said it seeks to protect conservation, heritage and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung values, in addition to protecting open space against development and climate change.

Council said the strategy commits to designing and maintaining open spaces for a mix of visitor experiences, including increasing tree canopy in open space reserves to 70 per cent canopy cover by 2050.

In focusing on growth, council said the high proximity to open space falls to 69 per cent in the Somerton precinct and 79 per cent in the Broadmeadows precinct, and the strategy aims to address these inequities.