"It gives me a sense of enormous well-being." So goes Blur's Britpop classic 'Parklife'.
The finishing touches are now being put to Ballarat's newest, Ballymanus Central Park in Alfredton, which builders hope will allow people in surrounding developments to experience the same emotion described by the song's narrator.
How much green space do we need as our boundaries expand? A recent World Health Organisation report confirmed what Blur had already told us: that access to green outdoor spaces can improve lives, with "positive health, social and environmental outcomes for all population groups, particularly among lower socioeconomic status groups."
For the City of Ballarat, the investment into projects such as Ballymanus is also pragmatic.
The city's director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo explains that the park was funded by the Ballarat West Development Contributions Plan.
"The development in the past was paddock to paddock... that's the old way of doing things," he told The Courier.
He said the council's precinct structure plan had allowed the City of Ballarat to develop infrastructure in a more planned way.
It has allowed us to get ahead of the game. We get a tenfold private sector spend by putting in that 10 per cent of public moneyTerry Demeo, City of Ballarat
"Instead of having ad-hoc growth, which didn't provide for the longer term, [we] use this tool to provide for long-term sustainable development," Mr Demeo said.
"This model was to plan 1,200 hectares in a way that was clear about how land use was defined, where activity centres would be, where open space would be."
The council funds infrastructure such including parks, drainage, pavements by borrowing against future developer contributions.
Mr Demeo said that the developer contribution levy - listed at $248,618.39 per hectare for developers, and $1,190 for each new dwelling - allows infrastructure to be in place when residents arrive.
"Punters are voting with their feet... It has allowed us to get ahead of the game. We get a tenfold private sector spend by putting in that 10 per cent of public money. "
The deputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates agreed the more proactive approach was working well. She made the point that it was easier to get infrastructure planning right at the beginning rather than going back to "retrofit" later.
"There are some good examples in Ballarat and some bad examples. Victoria Park is a really good example of future planning.
"[Historically] out in some of the suburbs the bar has been pretty low for developers."
She described the park at Ballymanus as "a good example of developer contributions."
Other initiatives Cr Coates said she hoped would help suburbs neglected historically were the Living Corridors initiative, and the Urban Forest Action plan approved by council last year [which aims at 40 per cent canopy cover around the city]. "It's not just parks, it's looking at natural spaces you can reinvigorate," she said.
Mr Demeo believes the current system gave certainty to both developers and residents. Ballymanus Park was built in advance, he said, "instead of leaving a paddock in the middle and coming back and doing it later when the kids are grown up and at university."
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