Proposed purchase of 150 Cambridge Road, Kilsyth

Share your feedback on Council's proposal to buy the former Yarra Hills Secondary College site at 150 Cambridge Road in Kilsyth.

This purchase would be a long-term investment in open space. The 3.6 hectare site will benefit residents in a growing urban area far into the future.

The proposed purchase has significant community interest. It also supports Council's strategic objectives for a healthier, more connected community.

In 2015, Council was approached by the Department of Education about the sale of the former Yarra Hills Secondary College site.

An independent assessment valued a 2.6 hectare part of the site between $7.8 and $10.4 million. Given the cost, Council did not buy the land and instead negotiated a 20-year lease for a part of the site, next to Elizabeth Bridge Reserve.

Council maintains this site which includes the oval and a dog off-lead area.

The State Government has since re-zoned the remaining 3.6 hectares of land, to prepare it for sale.

Over the last few years, there has been considerable local interest in the purchase of this site. Council has received letters and a community petition from residents and the Friends of Elizabeth Bridge Reserve advocating for the site to be maintained as open space.

In our urban areas the population is expected to grow, and so too will the community's need for open space. Increasing our open space portfolio means we will be able to meet our social needs into the future.

Increased access to public parks improves the health and wellbeing of communities. Proximity to a large park often increases physical activity.

Currently, there is not enough open space in Kilsyth to meet the social needs of our community. If no action is taken, this will become a bigger issue into the future.

The opportunity for Council to buy this large parcel of land will help address the shortfall of open space in the Kilsyth area. If the land is not put aside for open space it is likely to be developed for residential purposes.

Council proposes to use the current balance of the Walling Ward Public Open Space Fund ($2.97 million) to buy the land.

This fund is generated by contributions from developers who have subdivided land in the Walling Ward.

To make up the difference for the total purchase, Council is proposing to sell smaller parcels of land that have been identified as having limited community benefit.

The parcels of land recommended for potential sale are:

  • 182-184 Cambridge Road, Kilsyth;
  • 9A Wannan Court, Kilsyth;
  • 16 Ellis Court, Mooroolbark; and
  • 9A Tinarra Court, Kilsyth.

It is estimated that these property sales could generate up to $3.9 million.

Any excess funds from the sales would be returned to the Walling Ward Open Public Space Fund.

If we decide to move forward with the proposal, there will be a separate local engagement process for each of the smaller parcels of land.

We will notify residents that live close to the proposed parcels with detailed information on the progress of the proposal.

Council has the opportunity to buy 150 Cambridge Road for $6.44 million. This is a 50% reduction on full market value.

This offer from the State Government is provided on the basis that the land must be for Restricted Community Use (e.g. open space) only.

This offer has a deadline, resulting in a limited period of engagement in this phase.

If the proposal is progressed we will complete an extended community engagement on the specific sites for sale.

Environmental Impacts

Large public parklands can improve the environmental sustainability of an area. Planting trees in non-forested areas can increase biodiversity, overall tree canopy of the neighbourhood and have the added benefit of cooling the surrounding areas. Open space and parks can also help with stormwater management practices.

Social Impacts

Residents have come to depend on their local parks and open spaces more than ever during the recent Covid lockdown periods. These spaces play an important role in our mental health, providing opportunities for people to connect socially and outdoors with nature.

Large parks encourage people to walk further and meet their physical activity targets while helping reduce obesity. They also encourage many different activities within the space and help support the health and wellbeing of our community.

Economic Impacts

Expanding Elizabeth Bridge Reserve to include the site at 150 Cambridge Road, is expected to increase the overall use of the reserve.

Council would investigate the possibilities presented by the park to support local businesses and undertake future master planning of the site.

Any improvement of the site will likely be undertaken by local contractors, also supporting the local economy.