HELP KEEP HOSKEN A PLACE FOR COMMUNITY
In late 2020 Moreland City Council tried to rip up the oval at Hosken Reserve (Coburg North) and replace it with synthetic. The plan wasn't made public or subject to local community consultation.
Moreland was forced to dump the synthetic plan when the Victorian Government withdrew a $500,000 grant. Community Sports Minister Ros Spence found the council had not consulted residents about the plan and "did not have the broad-based community support which it claimed to have in the funding application."
Battle to retain access continues in 2021 ...
Moreland hired an outside consortium to consult the community on a new plan in 2021. Despite stage 1 consultation showing the value of Hosken Reserve's green open space to many types of users, the July draft plan converts nearly all the open space to soccer pitches, with council planning to spend millions gold-plating facilities for Moreland's National Premier League clubs.
Petition to coucillors for October 13 vote
If adopted the plan will end Hosken Reserve's status as an off-leash dog park, and consign non-soccer club users to peripheral walk paths and a thin lawn area between new pitches at key times of the week (4pm-9pm every weekday, and 8am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays). Council is overruling consultation findings and adopting the soccer-heavy plan despite applying to the State Government to rezone a large 1.74ha parcel of adjacent industrial land to residential and mixed use (item 7.10 July Council Agenda).
Who are these upgrades for?
Moreland claims the $millions of soccer upgrades are to facilitate growing participation by kids and females playing community soccer. But the 2021 draft plan included larger 'NPL-preferred' pitches with fencing, players’ races, a covered spectator grandstand for the locked southern pitch to seat up to 300 people, and 62 extra car parks. NPL clubs are allowed to charge spectators for car parking and entry to senior games.
While participants in Stage 2 consultation clearly expressed a desire for a smaller soccer pitch to be installed on the shared north field, council overrode them and included a 105m x 68m fenced pitch. Council continues to imply this size will accommodate more junior games and also says it 'meets Football Victoria's minimum requirement' for NPL. In fact a 105m x 68m pitch exceeds NPL minimum requirements, and is well beyond what is needed to stage community tier junior and senior soccer games.
Moreland admits fencing the new north pitch will reduce space available for junior games by 25 per cent - so it's clear the real plan is to prioritise the pitch for National Premier League teams, not juniors and community soccer. The plan to stage double header NPL games at Hosken Reserve comes despite the council's 2009 football facilities strategy identifying Richards Reserve, 250m south of Hosken in Coburg North's industrial precinct as the best site to establish a regional NPL facility.
Turning residential Hosken Reserve into an NPL hub will reduce local residents' access, increase traffic into Merlynston and subsidise semi-professional NPL soccer, rather than cheaper, accessible community-grade soccer. Moreland's four NPL clubs are required by Football Victoria to provide qualified coaches and technical directors and must have 40-week per year access to grounds meetings its requirements. NPL-preferred facilities are more expensive for council to build and maintain, with NPL clubs typically charging $2000 in fees for teenagers.
Moreland should not convert its sports fields, which account for one-third of the municipality's accessible open space, to exclusive facilities for elite sports participation. It does so at the expense of residents. Play fair, Moreland! Keep Hosken Reserve as a space for community soccer and informal recreation.
What You Can Do
Moreland's councillors will vote on a final plan for Hosken Reserve at the October 2021 council meeting.
Let them know you do not support spending $millions on elite facilities at council reserves, prioritised for expensive, semi-professional clubs.
Find a list of council contacts here.
Share Your Photos
Do you use Moreland's ovals and sports fields for informal xercise, recreation and gathering with friends? Let council know. Share your photos of Hosken and other sports fields in Moreland and let your social networks know what's going on.
Please tag councillors and our Facebook page @savehoskenreserve
SIGN THE PETITION
Moreland councillors will vote on a final, untested plan for Hosken Reserve at its October 13 2021 meeting. Please support our plea to keep a larger slice of the park as community space, prioritised for informal recreation and dog walking.
We are the Coburg North residents who live around Hosken Reserve. We have 120 local families signed up to our newsletter. We value the open space the park currently provides and want it to remain available for the community to use now and in future. We have no objection to soccer games being played in the north half of Hosken Reserve, but it should remain a sustainable, pleasant, grass space for all.