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Public Open Space Strategy

The Public Open Space Strategy guides the City’s future public open space planning and provision. It aims to provide our community access to a network of quality parks and reserves to help deliver a healthier and active community. The new Strategy was adopted by Council on 10 May 2022. Follow project

In addition to the full version of the Public Open Space Strategy, an overview document and video have been developed as well as a range of FAQ’s which provide a great overview and further information regarding the Strategy. 


Public open space (POS) is a vital component to any community and provides a wide range of health, social, environmental and economic benefits. It contributes to a community’s sense of place, identity and recreational opportunities, as well as providing a green relief to the ever expanding urban environment. The City has 502 public open spaces which equal a total of 745 hectares of Public Open Space. This does not include the extensive portions of bush forever areas, wetlands, conservations areas and coastal foreshore.

The City’s Public Open Space Strategy was endorsed in 2008 as a key strategic document to guide improvement to community health and wellbeing through accessibility to quality public open spaces.

Over the last thirteen years there has been significant change including population growth, urban development, and densification as well as the overarching State planning framework.

The City’s new Public Open Space Strategy addresses the current and future provision of Public Open Space (POS). With population growth forecasted and densification already occurring within the City, it is critical that adequate and proper planning occurs to ensure provision of facilities and amenities meet the growing need and demand from the community.

The POS Strategy will guide ongoing decision making within the City to provide an equitable and accessible network of quality POS for the Stirling community.

Document nameDownloadable files
Public Open Space Strategy(PDF)
Public Open Space Strategy Summary(PDF)
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14 February 2022

Community consultation commences

14 March 2022

Review community feedback

April/May 2022

Council consideration

May 2022

Council endorse Public Open Space Strategy
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What is Public Open Space?

The Strategy defines Public Open Space (POS) as per the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural (DLGSC) Industries Classification Framework for POS. POS is defined as “urban green spaces such as parklands, play areas, playing fields, bushland and other similar spaces people use for recreation, sport and social interaction, in which community access is encouraged and explicitly managed.”

What is the purpose of the Public Open Space Strategy?

With population growth forecasted and densification already occurring within the City, our Public Open Spaces will be more utilised and more valuable than ever.

The POS Strategy will guide the City’s future planning for the provision of public open space to meet the needs of our growing community to assist us to deliver a cohesive, diverse POS network to address current and future needs.

What does the Public Open Space Strategy consider?

The POS Strategy involves assessing the existing public open space network, current challenges, limitations and understanding community values.

The Strategy has six parts:

  • Part 1 and 2 General information, what is POS, context within the City of Stirling, WA Planning system and why POS is important
  • Part 3 How much POS does the City have and where is it located, as well as the POS classification system and what this means in terms of park amenity
  • Part 4 What spaces are provided under the local planning scheme and the respective POS percentage to guide POS contribution requirements under Development Control Policy 2.3. Cash in lieu and expenditure in relation to Development Control Policy 2.3 and 1.3
  • Part 5 The City’s process for assessing POS needs and gaps in the community
  • Part 6 Lists the key issues identified by the Strategy and the City’s responses.

What POS is ‘in scope’ for the purpose of this document?

While it is understood that recreation activities may occur in other areas of publicly accessible space, the Strategy is not intended to apply to areas where the primary purpose or function is identified outside of the POS framework. Primary function or purposes outside the scope of this Strategy are listed below (DLGSC, 2012).

  • Preservation and restoration of natural features or habitat such as ‘bush forever’, nature reserve, state forest, conservation reserve or similar (usually fenced off with restricted or no access)
  • Residual land or land set aside as urban deferred or for road reserve, car parking or similar purposes.
  • River and coastal foreshore reserves and buffer zones (beach area, support amenities and fenced-off areas included)
  • Where statutory responsibility lies with Western Australian Planning Commission, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Education or other state government body
  • Open space which is owned and managed by a private institution or third party, including private sporting clubs and not-for-profits.
  • Leased areas and facilities requiring paid entry and/or membership (eg, aquatic centres, indoor gyms and sports halls).

Part 3 of the Strategy considers all publicly accessible POS across the four hierarchy classifications: local, community, district and regional. This section recognises that although bush forever, coastal foreshores, natural areas and wetlands are not part of the POS network, many of these areas are publicly accessible and compliment the City’s POS network, providing great benefits to the community.

Part 4 of the Strategy aligns with State Planning Guidelines and only considers Public Open Space provided under the City’s Local planning scheme, which means land under the Metropolitan regional scheme are not included in the by suburb POS provision percentage.

Part 4 of the Strategy highlights the concerns around applying this broad-based percentage when assessing POS, which is why the City considers the networks explained in both Part 3 and 4 to determine the community’s access to POS.

Have you taken into consideration population growth and density change?

Table 6 of the Strategy (under 3.5.1 Population Projections) shows the predicted change over time in access to POS. All population data has been sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, using the most recent available (2016) census data and Western Australia Tomorrow population forecast reports.

The Strategy will also be reviewed in line with changes in community profile data or updated statistics when available, such as the 2021 Census and state population and density forecasting.

Has this Strategy considered relevant State Planning policy and guidelines?

Part 4 of the Strategy addresses State planning alignment, there are a variety of principal planning documents that impact the provision of POS throughout varying stages of the planning process. There are a selection of documents that impact the City’s Strategy, including regional schemes, local planning schemes, state planning policies, development control policies, and operational policies such as Liveable Neighbourhoods. The relationship between some of these principal planning documents is shown in Part 4, Figure 17, page 39 of the Strategy.

Did you engage with relevant State Government Departments during its development?

The City has met with Senior Officers at the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to seek their feedback on the Strategy. Whilst there is no requirement for formal endorsement by the Department, it is important to ensure that the Strategy integrates and considers relevant State Planning Policy and Guidelines.

The Department also identified the need for localised Public Open Space plans to support the Strategy which will provide a clearer picture of current provision, future needs and strategies to address any deficiencies or required improvements. The City is also seeking a review of State policy and Scheme frameworks in relation to Public Open Space.

How do you assess the need for future public open space provision and improvements?

The City follows a three-step POS assessment process which is guided by three key measures: Quantity, Access and Quality. These three key measures with an example of key questions are shown in Table 14, page 51 of the Strategy.

Figure 19, page 52 of the Strategy details the POS assessment process.

Do you identify how much public open space there is currently available and can I find some information about my area?

Yes, Part 3 of the Strategy, notably page 27 – 35 provides detailed mapping with POS classifications across the City, a per suburb breakdown of provision by classification and POS provision m2 per person as per current and forecast population data. Part 3 also considers Bush forever, coastal foreshores, natural areas and wetlands across the City and how these areas compliment the City’s POS network.

The localised suburb by suburb POS plans which are currently in development, will further analyse the suburb-by-suburb data and as per the POS assessment process, consider access and quality in addition to quantity.

What are the key findings and challenges of the Strategy?

The key findings/challenges of the Strategy are explained in Table 16, page 59 along with the City’s responses to these challenges.

  • The current measure of POS is based on a single percentage approach applied uniformly to a whole suburb, which does not consider distribution, access or quality.
  • Several suburbs have been identified as having under the recommended amount of POS
  • Projected population increases and associated impacts of increasing density and urban infill are resulting in less POS by area being available per person (if POS remains the same).

Community demands and expectations are growing, with increasing value being placed on access to quality POS and associated infrastructure.

How will the City respond to these key findings and challenges highlighted in the Strategy?

Table 16, page 59 provides the City’s responses to the key findings and challenges.

The City is currently in the process of developing localised suburb plans to address:

  • Localised suburb analysis
  • Identify gaps in POS; quantity, access and quality
  • Identify strategic options for addressing key challenges, gaps and deficiencies.

The localised plans will be crucial in addressing the key challenges, along with advocacy to relevant State bodies to review current standards, shared use advocacy and policy reviews.

What will happen next?

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

  • Developing localised suburb-by-suburb POS plans
  • Prioritising the retention of existing POS
  • Advocating to the Department of Education and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries for a review and improvement of policies regarding shared-use outcomes between local schools and local government
  • Conducting ongoing community engagement to understand the community’s POS needs and to educate how the City is providing quality POS through localised planning.

Where can I get more information?

There are a number of ways you can find out more information

Did the City seek public comment when developing the strategy?

The community and stakeholders were asked to provide feedback regarding the draft Public Open Space Strategy over a four week consultation period in February and March 2022.

A range of communication approaches were used to promote the consultation including:

  • Shaping our City web page
  • Social media promotion of the draft strategy and consultation period
  • An e-newsletter was directly sent to the City’s sporting clubs
  • A Stirling Scene article (March 2022 edition)
  • A media release
  • Posters at key community buildings and leisure facilities.
  • Direct engagement with the Department Planning, Lands and Heritage, Western Australian Planning Commission, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and The WA Local Government Association (WALGA).

Community and Stakeholder Feedback was requested to be provided via:

  • Your Say Stirling online survey (available from Monday 14 February to Monday 14 March)
  • Direct feedback via telephone, email or hard copy survey

For more information, or to receive this information in an alternate format, please contact Simone Pastor or Susan McGuane, Leisure Planning on (08) 9205 8555.

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