Whitehorse City Council

Amendment C99 Public Open Space Contribution

Amendment C99 was approved via the Government Gazette on Thursday 18 February 2010. 

The amendment changes the amount of public open space contribution that developers must pay or provide when subdividing land. The majority of contributions will be cash in lieu of land, however a land contribution may be required in certain circumstances.  

Subdivisions, whether residential, commercial or industrial, will be required to make a public open space contribution of at least 4%. Where the subdivision affects a Strategic site, as defined by the Whitehorse Open Space Strategy 2007 (WOSS) or by Council, a minimum contribution of 4% will be required, subject to negotiation. For all other sites, a flat rate of 4% will be required. This contribution would be either a percentage of the site value, a land contribution or a combination of both. (In accordance with Section 18(8) of the Subdivision Act, the subdivision of land into two lots is exempt from the open space requirement where Council considers it unlikely that the land will be further subdivided.)  

The amendment also introduces a new local policy (Public Open Space Contribution) into the scheme at Clause 22.17. The policy makes reference to the WOSS and identifies areas where a land contribution may be sought over a cash contribution for open space. It also requires development proposals in the areas with an identified open space shortfall to give early consideration to the policy so that if the land or any part of it is suitable for public open space according to certain criteria identified in the policy, early provision can be made for the required contribution if future subdivision of the development occurs. 

The amendment also makes minor changes to Clause 21.05 and 21.08 and inserts the WOSS into the list of Reference Documents under those clauses. 

The full amendment documentation is listed below:
pdf icon C99 Amendment Documents Including Explanatory Report.pdf (1.02MB)
pdf icon Open Space Contributions Program July 08.pdf (454.32kB)
pdf icon  Whitehorse C99 Panel Report (460.90kB) 

To view Council's Open Space Strategy, go to the Policies, Strategies & Plans page on this website. Scroll down to that page to find the Open Space Strategy (in three parts).  

Why the Amendment is Required

Demand for public open space in the City of Whitehorse is growing as the population and consequently development, increases.  

The WOSS is a comprehensive review of the existing public open space network within the City of Whitehorse. It provides a strategic basis for Council’s future open space program. The strategy includes an analysis of existing open space, levels of use, gaps in the existing open space network, an analysis of projected future residential growth and how this growth will influence future open space needs. This analysis enabled the identification of areas where new open space is required, where existing open spaces can be improved and the work needed to meet the existing and future open space needs of the community. The strategy recommends a variety of methods to achieve additional open space over the next 15 years. One such method is via public open space contributions made through the subdivision process. 

The public open space contribution requirement under the Schedule to Clause 52.01 is used to procure monies and/or land from new development to contribute to the provision and maintenance of open space. In order for Council to meet its future open space needs, an amended contribution rate for open space will be required. The schedule to Clause 52.01 needs to be varied to include the new rate. Currently, the schedule in the Whitehorse Planning Scheme has a mandatory open space contribution requirement of between 2 per cent and 5 per cent, depending on the number of additional lots being created. This sliding scale was not based on a detailed investigation of open space demand and supply and will not generate the monies required to meet future open space needs. 

The WOSS includes an Open Space Contributions Program, dated July 2008, which provides background information and explains the method used to establish the recommended contribution rates. The contribution of 4% was calculated by estimating the land area likely to be redeveloped due to anticipated population growth in each suburb and multiplying that by the average residential land value in each suburb, to estimate that the total value of land to be developed across the 15-year strategy is almost $700 million, which is $42 million per year. Project costs were then calculated (in 2006 dollars) based on projects contained in the WOSS. These include the costs to obtain land and develop new public open space reserves and open space links, and capital works improvements in existing open space and open space links. A proportion of each project cost was allocated to the new population, the total of which over the life of the 15-year strategy is approximately $24 million. Therefore, per year a fair allocation of both land and capital works to the new population totals on average $1.6 million per year. This is significantly more than the $800 000 per annum currently collected using the existing open space contribution requirement. 4% is the rate needed to generate $1.6 million per year from the estimated total value of land to be developed of $42 million. The new contribution rate will remedy the shortfall by more accurately reflecting the cost to Council of providing for the open space needs of the new population. Council will contribute the remaining costs of implementing the Strategy on behalf of the existing population. 

The WOSS identifies those areas within the City where additional open space will be needed and therefore where a land contribution may be required. The amendment includes a new local planning policy, Clause 22.17 Public Open Space Contributions, to highlight where a land contribution may in certain circumstances be sought instead of a cash contribution. As many sites proposed for subdivision will be unsuitable for a land contribution due to their size, location or attributes, the policy outlines the criteria to be used to determine if any part of the proposed subdivision site is suitable to be taken as land. Where a land contribution is inappropriate, a cash contribution will be required.  

The new policy will also enable early consideration of the open space requirements of the scheme and Council’s strategic preferences. As subdivision frequently occurs after development, the policy requires development proposals to set suitable land aside for public open space where subdivision will follow. 

Where You Can Inspect This Amendment
The amendment is available for public inspection, free of charge, during office hours at the following places:

This can be done during office hours and is free of charge.

For further information, please contact the Strategic Planning Unit on 9262 6303.