Public Open Space Strategy 2021-2031 adopted

31 May 2022

After a four-week community and stakeholder consultation period, Council has adopted a new Public Open Space Strategy 2021-2031. It will guide future decision-making with its aim to provide an accessible network of quality public open space for the City of Stirling community.

Fundamentally, public open space is provided to foster an active lifestyle and encourage positive health and wellbeing outcomes for the community. These include opportunities and settings for informal play and physical activity, relaxation and social interaction, and formal structured sporting activities.

Mayor Mark Irwin said the City was one of the first local governments in WA to formally develop a strategy for public open space in 2008, which needed to be reviewed and updated to reflect industry best practice, current challenges and issues, trends and future predicted changes.

“Public open space is a vital component to any community and provides a wide range of health, social, environmental and economic benefits.

In the City, it is a finite resource that is influenced by a range of pressures due to increasing demand, changing population and increasing density,” he said.

“The City has over 500 public open spaces across 745 hectares, which are used for a range of sport, recreation and nature activities. Overall, the City averages 11 per cent of public open space, with 24.6m2 of public open space per person.

“The increasing demand for the use of public open space is coming from a larger and more diverse group of users, including sporting clubs expanding memberships and extending seasonal use; emerging and new sporting and recreational trends; community groups; everyday use by surrounding residents; fitness groups; and recreational groups (such as dog walkers).

“Only through a holistic and balanced approach to planning can the City adequately ensure an equitable level of recreation and sporting facilities are provided while also protecting the environmental benefit of our public open spaces.”

Community consultation indicated that important priorities for residents included the need for infrastructure and facilities like playgrounds and natural play areas; seating and picnic areas; and natural shade, along with improvements in amenity provision in local parks.

Feedback showed support for upgrading public open space classifications to improve quality, further development of existing space and transforming spaces in new and innovative ways. Residents also identified that the overall amount of public open space available in their local area was important.

As part of the City’s response to dealing with the challenge of providing adequate space to residents across the whole of the City, the Public Open Space Strategy 2021-2031 includes actions such as:

  • Develop localised suburb-by-suburb public open space plans and identify opportunities to improve amenity and infrastructure in response to community needs
  • Prioritise the retention of existing public open space
  • Identify and respond to gaps through a range of strategies
  • Advocate to the State Government for a review of current public open space policy standards and associated contributions
  • Investigate shared use options and partnerships to complement the public open space network and advocate to the State for a review and improvement of policies on shared-use outcomes between local schools and local government
  • Continue to engage with our community and monitor changes in use, trends and demands to deliver functional and necessary public open space and amenities.

The Strategy provides the overarching strategic direction for Public Open Space and an integrated approach to future community infrastructure and facility planning.

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