Proactive Community Recreation Facilities Infrastructure

Mount Barker District Council

In 2015 Council took the opportunity to purchase land on Bollen Road, Mount Barker for community, recreation and sport use to meet a Council objective in its Master Plan for the Mount Barker growth area.

A developer proposed a footprint of approximately 9 hectares for community, recreation and sport infrastructure, and indicated that it had secured the support of the land owner to enable the sale of this parcel to Council.

The developer proposed an innovative funding approach whereby if Council were to purchase the open space land, the purchase cost and all subsequent interest costs would be fully recovered by Council over time from the developer.

The developer proposed the subject land of approximately 9 hectares for the purposes of the provision of the required 12.5% open space as required by the development of nearby land parcels. Under this scenario the required overall 12.5% open space is provided but it enables this provision to result in a more strategic and suitable parcel of land to meet community needs, which is also secured earlier than would otherwise be the case and meets the Council’s strategic open space objectives.

Council and the developer have identified a preferred site for a school location adjacent to the proposed recreation precinct. This co-location is consistent with Council’s Master Plan and strategy to achieve more efficient infrastructure provision, use and maintenance.

Given the significant infrastructure demands arising from the growth, Council has pro-actively pursued opportunities to undertake strategic partnering with others (both private and not for profit) for community benefit.

A concentration of new residential, school and community uses adjacent to a well established residential community (east of Bollen Road) will ensure intensive use of the proposed recreation facilities, reinforced by the Western Flat Creek Linear Park and pedestrian/cycle connection.

To fund and manage the full cost and repayment due for the land acquisition, over the agreed term with the developer, a convertible cash advance debenture was secured by Council with the LGFA. Council was also successful in gaining a State Government grant as a contribution to the land acquisition cost.

The flexible nature of the debenture allows Council to vary the loan amount to add interest expense during the repayment period as per the funding agreement with the developers, and make re-payments in line with the agreed terms, which relate to stages of development within the applicable sub divisions.

Information supplied by Kylie Norris, Project Officer – Corporate Service