In a special meeting of Council on March 28 2018, Bayside City Council resolved to discontinue golf at Elsternwick Park North and create a passive open space/environmentally focussed reserve in the area that is currently occupied by the golf course. The development of the area must be guided by the following four priorities:

  • Environment;
  • Public Amenity;
  • Flood Protection; and
  • Water Quality.

These priorities will be influenced by community consultation, some, such as water quality and flood protection, will require additional input from industry experts.

In line with Council’s resolution to create an area of environmentally focussed passive open space, there are a number of uses that will not be considered. These include using the nature reserve for

  • sports grounds or formal sports;
  • off leash dog facilities; or
  • other activities that will have a negative impact, or could reduce the environmental value of the Reserve.

Within this master planning process, Council will consider the likely impact of dogs on the ability to achieve these goals. This will mean dogs will continue to be required to be on a leash at all times. As part of this process we may consider areas where dogs are not permitted.

We are in the early phases of developing the masterplan. What goes into the park from this point on will be an outcome of the information collected during community engagement activities. Community ownership of the park during both development and the ongoing management is essential if the vision is to be realised. We are seeking your ideas and priorities on what would create a passive open space/environmentally focused reserve in the area of Elsternwick Park North, considering the four priorities.

Council is in a unique position and wants your input. It is very rare to have the opportunity to plan for the future use of such a large area of open space. We are restricted to working within the Council resolution to create a passive open space/environmentally focussed reserve, however what this actually looks like is not open for community discussion.

To begin we are seeking your ideas and priorities quite broadly. This information will be used to collate feedback to inform the project brief for the design competition for the development of the Masterplan.

We will also return to consult broadly on the draft masterplan and ensure we have heard the community and this is reflected in the design.

Due to its size (almost 14Ha) and its location, bordering two local authorities and adjacent to a major transport routes (Nepean Highway and Sandringham train lines) Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve is likely to cater for a large and diverse group of people and will qualify as a Municipal/Regional Reserve.

Municipal/Regional Reserves cater for Bayside residents, tourists and others from outside of the municipality. Visitors to Municipal/Regional Reserves will spend long periods of time (2hrs or more) at the site and are likely to travel by car or public transport. Municipal/Regional Reserves are intended to cater for a diverse range of interests of all Bayside residents. These spaces often have a wide catchment because of the unique features they offer.

The scope of a Municipal/Regional reserve is discussed in detail in the Open Space Strategy provided in the document library on this page.

In order to gain an understanding of possible environmental benefits in line with Council’s priorities a Community Panel has been established. This Panel is made up of representatives from local wildlife groups, resident groups and stakeholders such as the City of Port Phillip, Melbourne Water and Elsternwick Park Association. The Panel does not have formal decision making authority and its function is to provide advice and contribute to the development of longer term strategies for the Reserve and be a resource to test development ideas.

Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve was once part of an extensive swamp area and is part of the traditional lands of the Boon Wurrung clan of the Kulin Nation. European settlement saw the swamp drained and the creation of the Elwood Canal which now allows flow from Elster Creek directly into Port Phillip Bay. Elster Creek flows through the park and is part of an extensive catchment encompassing parts of four municipalities, the Cities of Bayside, Port Phillip, Glen Eira and Kingston. Generally, Elster Creek is a highly modified waterway, over twenty kilometres in length. For most of this length it has been altered from a natural waterway to underground or surface concrete drains.

Works in the Reserve since the 1950s include a water diversion via the Head Street drain, the creation of a lake in the south of the park and a small wetland in the north of the park. Despite the modest size of this wetland, it has become popular with local wildlife.

Elsternwick Golf Course has been re-opened as public parkland for recreational use including picnics, running, walking and other activities. Work has started on technical investigations to determine the possibilities and limitations for turning the former golf course into an environmentally-focussed park.

The park is home to many special animals that include several threatened and near threatened species including the eastern great egret and the grey headed flying fox.

The development of Elsternwick Park as a nature reserve is supported in the Bayside Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2027 (BAP) which recommends the following:

  • Investigate opportunities of areas suitable for the expansion of the conservation reserve system.
  • Use data and information available to identify key bushland areas for potential conservation or rehabilitation work, and possible elevation of reservation status.
  • Undertake supplementary plantings and habitat augmentation works to improve wildlife corridors on public land (e.g. parks, areas of foreshore, roadsides, and libraries).
  • Utilise dense shrubby species to provide habitat for smaller birds that are outcompeted by aggressive Noisy Miners and Common Mynas.
  • Install nesting boxes for bats, possums and birds. Ensure regular monitoring and maintenance to prevent occupancy by undesirable pest species.
  • Provide protective habitat for smaller birds that can be driven away by territorial Noisy Miners and Common Mynas.
  • Plant clusters of dense indigenous shrubs in areas where aggressive Noisy Miners and Common Mynas are outcompeting smaller native birds.

All of these actions could be achieved in Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve and increase the opportunities for improving biodiversity and habitat not only in the reserve but in Bayside.

Within this master planning process Council will consider the likely impact of dogs on the ability to achieve these goals. This will mean dogs will continue to be required to be on a leash at all times. There may be areas where dogs are not permitted.

Flood mitigation and water quality solutions need to be creative and employ the best contemporary knowledge to achieve the desired outcomes. Council is working with neighbouring authorities and industry experts to investigate what flood mitigation and water quality benefits can be achieved.

Have your say

We have a short survey to capture your priorities and an ideas board where you can share ideas of what you would like to see in the Nature Reserve.

Have your say in person

Come to a drop in session to share your ideas and find out more information.

  • Tuesday 26 March 5pm - 7pm
  • Saturday 30 March 10am - 12pm
  • Tuesday 2 April 4pm - 6pm
  • Sunday 7 April 10am - 12pm

Sessions will be held at Elsternwick Park Oval 1 Pavilion, Glen Huntly Road.

Drop in session location

Elsternwick Park Oval 1 Pavilion, Glen Huntly Road