After considering an extensive community engagement process conducted in February and March this year, Moreland City Council has set direction around the surfaces, sports infrastructure and sports use of Coburg North’s Hosken Reserve.
Council resolved unanimously to retain the north oval and east field as natural grass. These areas will continue as shared spaces for sport and general community use. The north oval will be formalised as a football pitch with a low-level 1.1 metre black chain mesh fence, with gates that will not be locked.
Council also resolved unanimously to install a hybrid surface, a combination of natural turf and synthetic, on the south field. This field will continue as a fenced soccer pitch.
A hybrid pitch is a lower maintenance cost option which combines natural grass and synthetic fibres to produce a surface with longer durability than natural grass, which can sustain more playing or training hours than natural turf, and which holds less heat than fully synthetic pitches. Hybrid pitches are currently in use across the world at the elite level. The World Cup, English Premier League and Champions League football are all played on hybrid surfaces.
A “Refresh Group” will now be formed, including a range of community representatives, to work together to develop a revised Master Plan for Hosken Reserve.
Moreland Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan said the project now has workable solutions that seek to strike a balance between formal and informal community recreation needs.
“We’re optimistic that these options will allow shared club and community access and use for the northern and eastern fields," said Cr Carli Hannan.
"A low-fence for the northern field will comply with playing and safety standards but the gate won’t be locked, allowing the community to use the northern oval for recreation outside of competition and training times. We’re retaining natural turf in the north and east and endorsing a hybrid option for the South field.
“Our community health and wellbeing is strengthened by sport participation as well as by general community use of open space. Inner metropolitan councils have increasing demands on our limited open space, with competing needs and uses. I want to thank community members, including sports clubs and local residents, for their feedback and contribution."
An extensive community engagement process in February and March involving surveys, formal submissions, stakeholder interviews and on-site face-to-face sessions informed Council’s decisions. The independent Background Report and Engagement Summary presented at the 12 May Council Meeting advised that Council needed to set some direction on key issues before proceeding to the next stage of community consultation.
With this guidance now in place, the project will proceed to the establishment of a Refresh Group, where an independently selected group of 25 participants will meet to inform the design concepts for a draft refreshed masterplan for Hosken Reserve.
The community will have further opportunities to provide their thoughts on the design concepts in the draft refreshed masterplan for Hosken Reserve before the final masterplan is presented to Council in September/October 2021.
Moreland Council thanks local residents, club members and other community members for their contributions and involvement throughout the project so far.