What is proposed for the Hub and Debneys Park?

The project will guide improvements at the precinct to meet future community needs in the short, medium and longer term. It will include: 

  • Short term: A new multipurpose community hub building to replace the existing Flemington Community Centre and sports pavilion - referred to as ‘the Hub’
  • Long term: Developments and improvements throughout Debneys Park including play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities, sports fields, outdoor courts, shared paths and landscaping – referred to as ‘Debneys Park improvements’ 
  • Recommendations from the draft Chain of Ponds: Moonee Ponds Creek Plan such as a rain garden, and water storage areas will also be delivered over the medium to longer term.
In its entirety the project is known as Flemington Community @Debneys Park. 

This project is not part of the Flemington Housing Estate redevelopment being delivered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

How much money has Council committed to deliver the project (Hub and Debneys Park improvements)?

At the Tuesday 11 June, 2019 Council meeting next year’s budget, long term capital works spending and the strategic resource plan were presented. Councillors decided to reduce the capital works plan allocation for the Hub to $20 million. 

Council has adopted the following funds to the project as at 11 June 2019: 

  • Allocated funding for design development in the short term (2019/20/21), including $500k in 2019/20 
  • $20m to construct the Hub and associated infrastructure ($12m in 2021/22 and $8m in 2022/23)
  • $20m+ for the Debneys Park precinct in the long term, post 2029/2030 
Capital improvements such as a rain garden, and water storage areas are proposed to be delivered over the longer term post 2029/2030 in addition to the Hub and Debneys Park improvements, with council officers working to secure funding support from other bodies. 

Council adopts the budget annually and reviews the long-term capital works budget regularly as project progress and more information comes to light. 

Council is advocating for external funding. Such grant revenues are not budgeted for but if received are appropriately accounted for in accordance with financial regulatory requirements. The project was never dependant on receiving grants from other levels of government. Should Council be fortunate to receive funding from other levels of government, we will update our plans accordingly.

Clarification around the project funding

The Council resolution was to reduce the allocation from $42.5 million (including 3% escalation) to $20 million to build the Hub. 

More than $20 million has been allocated to fund improvements to Debneys Park precinct, to be delivered post 2029/2030. 

Will the project still go ahead?

Yes. We want to reiterate the Flemington Community @ Debneys Park project is still moving forward. 

How does the reduction in budget affect the project scope?

Even though we have a reduced amount of funding to work with, there is still $20 million allocated to the Hub, plus design development funds enabling us to continue undertaking an exciting redevelopment with a new Hub to meet the needs of our community. The large amount of work undertaken to date is still extremely relevant and will continue to contribute greatly to the project going forward. 

What happens next?

Officers will need to take some time now to re-look at the work done to date and adjust our ideas and draft concepts for the new Hub to align with the amended project allocation. 

Will the project take longer to deliver?

Once we have done additional work to see what we can achieve within the new funding allocation, we will come back to the community for further consultation and an update to project timeframes. 

Will the design options change?

Yes. Feedback we have received so far from the community has been extremely valuable and is still very relevant. This feedback and input will be used to inform the revised draft concepts going forward. 

What is the proposed user group for the Flemington Hub?

The idea is to create a space and facilities that will primarily benefit and bring together the entire Flemington community.

What correspondence has taken place between the State Government and Council regarding funding for the Hub?

Formal letters were sent to candidates and MPs in the State electorates of Essendon and Niddrie seeking support for the project in the lead up to the State Election. 

We continue to have conversations with the State Government about opportunities for funding and nothing has been ruled out. 

What is the impact of East West Link on the project?

The East West Link project was abandoned by the State Government in July 2015. 

In May 2019 the Federal Coalition Government made an election commitment to fund East West Link. The State Labor Government remains opposed to the project. Council will keep you informed as further information comes to hand. 

What’s happening with the Flemington Housing Estate renewal?

The Department of Health and Human Services is renewing the Flemington Housing Estate. The first stage of the project, led by DHHS, seeks to replace walk-up apartment buildings with new and increased social housing units and will introduce private housing, along with other measures to improve the amenity and security of the area. It is anticipated this will be in partnership with a private sector partner. Council’s role is to have input into the design, manage the interface with the existing community and the anticipated impacts during construction. 

Public housing renewal at the Flemington estate is about to take an important step forward, with the first stage of demolition works of the walk-up flats due to begin in June 2019. To learn more about the housing project go to https://vhhsba.vic.gov.au/housing-andinfrastructure/flemington-estate

What role is the State Government Flemington Education Plan for Flemington having on decision making for the Hub?

The Department of Education anticipate considerable growth in demand for education services in the Flemington, Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds areas, and are working with local stakeholders (current and future parents, students, school staff and education experts) to explore future provision options. Schools involved include Flemington Primary School, Debney Meadows Primary School, Mount Alexander College and Ascot Vale Special School. 

Council is working closely with the Department of Education to ensure our respective projects leverage any opportunities for a cohesive approach to meeting the needs and aspirations of the Flemington community. 

For further information go to https://engage.vic.gov.au/flemington-education-plan

What will happen to the Hopetoun Children’s centre?

We are engaging with the Hopetoun Children's Centre, its users and staff to inform planning for this project. A range of future scenarios will be explored.

What will happen to Debney Meadows Primary School?

We are engaging with the Debney Meadows Primary School, its users and staff to inform planning for this project. A range of future scenarios will be explored.  The Department of Education have indicated they have no future plans to close Debney Meadows Primary School.

Will the significant trees be protected?

All significant trees will be protected through the staged development of the Debneys Park precinct. Within our designs, we will explore options for increased landscaping, to meet our target of 30 per cent tree canopy coverage by 2040.

What is a community hub?

A community hub is a community facility, or a number of closely located community facilities, that accommodate a range of services and activities available to the community. Community hubs often become vibrant focal points for the local community. They allow service providers to share resources and co-ordinate their services, which can reduce the overall building size and footprint. A new community hub is a priority for Flemington in Council's long term vision document, MV2040. As an important focal point for the neighbourhood, the community hub will provide social, health and economic development opportunities.

Why do we need to improve Flemington Community Centre and Debneys Park?

Through its MV2040 vision, Council is responding to significant anticipated growth in population in Flemington and surrounding communities, whilst also seeking to update in-demand community services and facilities.

The existing community centre supports a range of community services and activities. However, the building in disrepair and struggling to meet the existing community need. Demand for most services is high and there is an increasing need for spaces for classes, co-working, and community events.  While the sports pavilion in the park is heavily utilised, it is also in poor condition. It has no public toilets or social space and does not comply with sporting code guidelines.

What will it cost to use the new community hub?

Council is committed to ensuring community facilities remain affordable and accessible to the broad community.