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Leadership and Good Governance - Reports

6.2

Ordinary Meeting - 14 December 2016

EPSOM PRIMARY SCHOOL JOINT USE AGREEMENT

Document Information
Author

Deb Simpson, Coordinator Connecting Communities

Responsible
Director

Vicky Mason, Director Health and Wellbeing

Purpose
For Council to determine whether it wishes to enter into a joint facility development and
use agreement (CJUA) as part of a broader Epsom Primary School (School)
redevelopment project (redevelopment project).
Summary
An opportunity exists for Council to partner with the Department of Education and
Training (DET) and the School Council in the joint development and use a multi-purpose
facility at the existing School site. This development would complement a broader School
redevelopment which the Victorian Government has invested $5.7M into.
Epsom is an area that is experiencing rapid and sustained population growth. The CJUA
presents as an opportunity for Council to future proof Epsoms passive community
facility provision at a greatly reduced cost compared with Council developing and
managing a different facility in its own right. Many of the existing active and passive
community facilities in the Epsom 10 minute neighbourhood (such as the Epsom Huntly
Recreation Reserve, Weeroona and White Hills Pavilions) are already at full capacity on
evenings and weekends in winter, and at 75 per cent capacity in summer (with year on
year growth in usage occurring). It is forecast that the day time capacity of all of these
facilities on week days, during school hours, will be reached within five years, with
Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve already at 40 to 50 per cent capacity during these
times.
Community consultation has identified an existing level of community demand for the
multi-purpose facility, particularly for playgroup, community group meeting and allied
health purposes. The community consultation processes have enabled staff to forecast
that 6,500 community members would be likely to use the multi-purpose facility annually
for non-school related purposes.
Based on the architects opinion of probable project costs, it is anticipated that the
developments cost to Council would be in the vicinity of $405,000 and require a
commitment of approximately $365,000 in the 2017/2018 budget.
Some heritage significance issues relating to a building and four elm trees have been
identified throughout the redevelopment projects planning, however the redevelopment

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Ordinary Meeting - 14 December 2016

project is now being managed in such a way that it will still be able to proceed even if the
Minister for Planning supports an interim heritage overlay for these community assets.
DET and the School Council are aiming for a January 2018 completion of all construction
works. To achieve this, DET will need to call for tenders for the construction works in
January 2017. A decision as to whether Council wishes to proceed with the joint
development and use option is required at the 14 December 2016 Council meeting in
order for the tender documentation to be finalised.

RECOMMENDATION
That Council resolve to:
1. support the joint development and use of a multi-purpose facility at the existing
Epsom Primary School site.
2. commit a maximum of $500,000 in project related expenditure, including an
estimated amount of $365,000 in the 2017/2018 budget.
3. authorise the Chief Executive Officer to sign the associated Community Joint Use
Agreement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Policy Context
Council Plan Reference:
This report is consistent with the following 2013 2017 Council Plan (2016/17 update)
themes, strategies and actions:
Theme 1: Leadership and good governance
o Strategy 1.2: Maintain strong and positive relationships with the Federal and
State Government and relevant departments and agencies and advocate to
ensure that the required infrastructure, key projects, policies and services are in
place as our community grows.
o Strategy 1.6: Programs, projects and services are guided by best practice principles
and delivered to respond to community needs.
o Strategy 1.8: Sustain the long term financial viability of the Council.
o Action 1.8.2: Thoroughly evaluate the potential long-term impacts of any shift of
responsibility or reduction in funding from the State Government, before agreeing
to continue to fund service delivery, fund new services or take over responsibility
for assets.

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Ordinary Meeting - 14 December 2016

Theme 3: Presentation and vibrancy


o Strategy 3.3: Greater Bendigo is a community that values its heritage, art facilities
and major events, and supports arts and cultural experiences.
o Strategy 3.7: Structured community engagement, community planning and
community development programs support our residents and communities,
particularly those who may experience isolation.
Theme 5: Sustainability
o Strategy 5.2: The history, unique heritage, streetscapes and buildings of Greater
Bendigo are conserved, restored, celebrated and managed wisely for the long
term.
o Strategy 5.3: Essential infrastructure is constructed, maintained and renewed to
meeting the needs of current and future residents.
Background Information
Epsom is situated in one of Greater Bendigos major housing development corridors, with
Greater Bendigos population forecast to grow from 112,853 in 2016 to 156,151 in 2036.
In the Epsom area specifically the population is forecast to increase from 4,823 in 2016
to 5,525 in 2036. Significant growth in Epsoms three to 12 year age cohort is also
forecast i.e. from 706 to 779 between 2016 and 2021 (forecast.id.com.au).
The Victorian Government has acknowledged Epsom as a major growth corridor via its
$5.7 million investment in the redevelopment project. The redevelopment project is being
managed by DET and entails re-use of the existing site. The redevelopment project is
currently in the detailed design phase, with the intent being to complete construction
works by January 2018.
The site address is 31 Howard St, Epsom. The site is bound by Howard Street to the
north, Bendigo Creek to the east, freehold land to the south (the majority of which is
Farming Zone and at risk of flooding), and freehold land to the west (per Attachment 1).
In 2015 the School Principal and Council President approached City staff to ascertain if
there was any City interest in a CJUA.
Within both the education and local government sectors, CJUAs are considered good
practice. This is because they seek to maximise access to and benefits from built
infrastructure and open spaces, plus share the burden of development, maintenance and
administrative costs.
Previous Council Decision(s) Date(s):
Councillors provided in-principle support to explore CJUA opportunities at the 27 January
2016, 8 June 2016 and 14 September 2016 Councillor Forums.
20 July 2016 - Council resolved to:

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1. Adopt the White Hills and East Bendigo Heritage Study - Stage 2, 2016.
2. Request the Minister for Planning to authorise Council to prepare Amendment
C223 to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme.
3. When authorised by the Minister for Planning, exhibit Amendment C223 to the
Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme giving notification as required for a period of
one month.
31 August 2016 - Council resolved to endorse the actions of the Citys Director Planning
and Development in seeking interim heritage protection from the Minister for Planning for
part of 31 Howard Street, Epsom.

Report
The initial CJUA proposal was premised on two stages. Stage 1 involved the
development of the DET funded School only facilities plus a DET / City jointly funded
multi-purpose facility of approximately 300m2 in size. Stage 2 involved the development
of a DET / City jointly funded maternal and child health, early learning and allied health
facility. One of the key objectives of Stage 2 was more continuity of relationships and
more integrated service provision for families with children aged zero to 12.
Stage 2 was contingent upon DET being able to purchase some additional (freehold)
land adjoining the site. At the time of preparing this report, no additional land had been
secured so DET and the City have decided to focus only on Stage 1. Stage 2 can be
revisited as an option if and when additional land is secured.
The proposed multi-purpose facility plans are included as Attachment 2 and include the
site plan (Figure 1), the proposed multi-purpose facility floor plan (Figure 2) and the
proposed multi-purpose facility elevations (Figure 3). The section denoted as Council in
Figure 2 will not be constructed if Council does not wish to proceed with a CJUA.

Site heritage considerations


The site contains a red brick building constructed in 1881 that has been identified as
having local heritage significance within Councils adopted White Hills and East Bendigo
Heritage Study Stage 2. There are also four elm trees within close proximity that have
been identified as having local heritage significance.
On 28 July 2016 the City received a building application for the demolition of all buildings
(demolition application) on the site to enable construction of the new buildings that form
the redevelopment project. The red brick building was included in the demolition
application even though the redevelopment project concept plan indicated no new
buildings were proposed to be constructed in its position. Discussions with School
representatives and DETs Project Manager identified that their rationale for the red brick
buildings proposed removal was that it would be considered surplus under DETs facility
maintenance funding formulas. Funding the maintenance of the red brick building would
therefore fall solely to the School community and the School representatives were
concerned that this could prove to be financially unsustainable.

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The City had 15 days to make a decision on the demolition application. The demolition
application could only be refused if there was an existing heritage overlay on the red
brick building or if the City requested an interim heritage overlay from the Minister for
Planning. The City contacted School representatives and DETs Project Manager to
ascertain if the demolition application could be withdrawn to enable more opportunity for
discussion and negotiation about the future of the red brick building. The demolition
application was not withdrawn so the Citys Director Planning and Development
subsequently requested an interim heritage overlay from the Minister for Planning. This
action was taken in line with the Citys statutory responsibilities.
At the time of preparing this report the Minister for Plannings decision regarding the
interim heritage overlay request was not known. If the decision is that the red brick
building is to be retained, consideration will need to be given to how it is used and
maintained. The School Principal and Council President have indicated that its small
size, long and narrow shape and lack of basic amenities renders it unsuitable for any
School community uses other than storage. The City has not identified any broader
community needs it would be suitable for without significant redevelopment works, and
even then the available space would prove very limiting. DET, the School and the City
have therefore decided to focus on the multi-purpose facility with the view that use of the
red brick building can be revisited if the Minister for Planning determines it must be
retained.
Anticipated CJUA conditions
At the time of preparing this report negotiations about the proposed CJUA terms and
conditions were still underway. There is in-principle agreement between School and City
representatives that the School should manage all multi-purpose facility bookings, and
that all revenue generated by bookings should be placed in a dedicated operating
account and used to fund facility operating costs and maintenance. There is also inprinciple agreement that any facility operating and maintenance costs that exceed the
amount of revenue received should be shared equally between the School and City.
The proposed CJUA outlines the following in terms of proposed multi-purpose facility
hours of operation and priority of access:
Facility to operate from 6am 10.30pm.
The School has priority of access to the entire facility from 8.30am 12noon on
Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 12noon to 4.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays.
The City (and broader community) has priority of access to the entire facility from 8.30am
12noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 12noon to 4.30pm on
Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The City (and broader community) has priority of access to the entire facility from 4.30pm
10.30pm on school days.
The City (and broader community) has priority of access to the entire facility from 6am
10.30pm on non-school days.
If the facility is not booked by the respective party during the specified time 21 days out
from any given date the other party is welcome to book it.
There is also in-principle agreement that a 20 year licence will be applied to the multipurpose facility with an additional 10 year licence option. This means that any Council
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investment in the multi-purpose facility would be secure for the assets anticipated
lifespan of 30 years.

Priority/Importance:
Epsom is situated in one of Greater Bendigos major housing development corridors and
significant growth in Epsoms three to 12 year age cohort is forecast between 2016 and
2021.
Many of the existing active and passive community facilities in the Epsom 10 minute
neighbourhood (such as the Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve, Weeroona and White
Hills Pavilions) are already at full capacity on evenings and weekends in winter, and at
75 per cent capacity in summer (with year on year growth in usage occurring). It is
forecast that the day time capacity of all of these facilities on week days, during school
hours, will be reached within five years, with Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve already
at 40 to 50 per cent capacity during these times.
Community consultation has identified a level of existing community demand for a multipurpose facility at the site, particularly for playgroup and community group meeting
purposes. There is also a level of interest from allied health services in using the facility
for community information session purposes and instructional purposes (e.g. pilates and
yoga classes).

Options/Alternatives:
The section denoted as Council in Figure 2 (Attachment 2) will not be constructed if
Council does not wish to proceed with a CJUA. Care has been taken to ensure that the
section denoted as Multi-Purpose Room (which will proceed irrespective of what
Councils decision is) has been positioned in such a manner that it could be extended
into the future.
The red brick building has now been excluded from the demolition application pending
the Minister for Plannings decision regarding the interim heritage overlay.
The redevelopment project detailed designs indicate no new buildings will be constructed
in the position of the red brick building, so the redevelopment project can proceed if the
Minister for Planning does approve the interim heritage overlay.
If the red brick building is to be retained it is anticipated that DET, School and City
representatives will need to work collaboratively to determine appropriate red brick
building uses going forward.
Timelines:
DETs intent is to complete all construction works related to the redevelopment project by
January 2018. To achieve this, DET will be calling for tenders in January 2017. Under
DET policies and procedures, joint facility development and use options cannot be
included in DET tender documentation until a CJUA has been established. Council
therefore needs to determine if it wishes to proceed with a multi-purpose facility CJUA at
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its 14 December 2016 Council meeting to ensure the section denoted as Council in
Figure 2 (Attachment 2) can be reflected within DETs tender documentation.
Should Council opt to defer consideration of this matter until after its 14 December
Council meeting, the works could still be included as part of the redevelopment project
but would need to be managed as a redevelopment project variation. This approach
would have an adverse impact on project costs.
Consultation/Communication
Internal Consultation:
There has been significant internal consultation regarding the CJUA. This has included
input from staff within the Citys Active and Healthy Communities, Building and Property
Services, Community Partnerships, Community Services and Statutory Planning units.
Based on the Statutory Planning units advice, a planning permit is not required to
develop or use the proposed multi-purpose facility for community gathering / meeting
purposes:
External Consultation:
Community consultation has identified a level of community demand for a multi-purpose
facility at the site, particularly for playgroup and community group meeting purposes.
There is also a level of interest from allied health services in using the facility for
community information sessions and instructional purposes (e.g. pilates and yoga
classes).
The community consultation processes have enabled staff to forecast that 6,500
community members would be likely to use the Council section as denoted in Figure 2
(Attachment 2) on an annual basis for non-school related purposes. This forecast has
been premised on 125 uses per week, including 75 per week for playgroup purposes
(across three different groups) and 50 per week for community group meeting purposes
(across five different groups).
When the conflicts between the demolition application and heritage significance were
identified, the City consulted with School and DET representatives. The consultation
resulted in the red brick building being excluded from the demolition application pending
the Minister for Plannings decision regarding an interim heritage overlay.
Resource Implications
During the 8 June 2016 and 14 September 2016 Councillor Forum discussions
Councillors indicated a willingness to commit up to $500,000 in project related
expenditure, including a commitment to $30,000 in 2016/2017 unbudgeted expenditure
for concept and detailed design processes.
The following table outlines the architects opinion of probable project costs and DETs
advice regarding likely CJUA legal fees. It also outlines how the CJUA costs are
proposed to be managed:

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Financial Description
Year
2016/17
Concept / detailed
design fees and
quantity surveyor
estimates
Legal fees related to
the CJUA
2017/18
Building works plus
$15,000
contingency
allowance
Car parking
modifications

TOTAL

Ordinary Meeting - 14 December 2016

Cost

Comments

$30,000

Unbudgeted cost; now


contractually committed.

$10,000 estimate
only
$315,000 estimate
only

Unbudgeted cost; not yet


contractually committed.
To be included in 2017/18
budget if Council wishes to
proceed with the project,
otherwise this expenditure
will not be incurred.
To be included in 2017/18
budget if Council wishes to
proceed with the project,
otherwise this expenditure
will not be incurred.

$50,000 estimate
only

$405,000

The calculation of likely annual multi-purpose facility operating and maintenance costs is
a work in progress with advice still pending from DET regarding comparable facilities.

Attachments
1.

Epsom Primary School location map

2.

Proposed Multi-purpose Facility Plans

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