The creation of the Sustainable Communities Infrastructure development Guidelines by the City of Greater Geelong ensures cross divisional cooperation, innovation and business improvement in Council’s planning process for new and existing developments.
The Guidelines bring together existing best practice industry standards and importantly, local input and content in the following key areas: Transport and Movement; Landscape and Streetscape; Water Management; Sport Recreation and Open Space; Social and Community Facilities; and Biodiversity and Conservation Areas.
The City of Greater Geelong recognises the importance of balancing economic growth, providing vibrant and informed communities and preserving and protecting the City’s unique environmental assets.
The Infrastructure Development Guidelines reflect a range of principles aimed at developing “Sustainable Communities”. These principles focus on liveability and quality of life, and acknowledge the importance of residents feeling connected to their communities. While the guidelines focus primarily on built infrastructure, the main objective of this document is to build communities that are socially connected, healthy and sustainable.
The Infrastructure Development Guidelines were prepared to facilitate quality planning, design and construction of infrastructure in the City of Greater Geelong. The City of Greater Geelong apply these principles through the design, upgrade and redevelopment of new and existing infrastructure as well as the establishment of new communities throughout the municipality.
The outcome of the project was the creation of Infrastructure Development Guidelines for use by Developers, Agencies and Authorities, Council staff, and Consultants when planning for communities within the municipality.
Innovative features of the Project
The guidelines provide an inter-departmental and inter-organisational understanding of the principles for infrastructure that builds healthy and connected communities. Their establishment has generated significant interest from developers, other LGAs in Victoria and the State Growth Area Planning division.
Engineering standards are readily available and well used through the infrastructure development guidelines, and with the benefit of the Infrastructure Design Manual, the City of Greater Geelong is able to facilitate and negotiate sustainable outcomes in the areas of Civil Infrastructure provision.
There was however a gap in the provision of similar guidelines in the areas of recreation, open space, community facility development and conservation and biodiversity. The guidelines provides an integrated framework for the planning and design of all of these vital elements of truly sustainable communities.
The document has brought together a wealth of information and distilled it into a succinct document that can be used by all areas of Council.
Distinguishing features of the Project
The development of a comprehensive infrastructure development guidelines document has always been an aspiration of Council, but never achieved due to the complexities of its content. A key feature of the document, and key to it’s success, is its review cycle. This process ensures that updates and feedback are actively sought, and new versions of the guidelines are released every 6 months.
The standard document format across each of the six infrastructure classes provides clarity and consistency for the reader. Each section is comprised of:
- Objectives and principles of development are summarised;
- Relevant standards and policies are outlined including legislation, industry standards, policies and guidelines;
- Planning considerations are discussed with particular reference to relevant resource materials that should be used in planning phases; and
- Design and construction guidance and requirements are covered to ensure that there is consistency and compliance with minimum standard of infrastructure development.
Appendices are provided where further detail is required. Standard templates have been prepared to facilitate the creation of a comprehensive suite of appendices over time. Particulalrly where more detail is required or standards change.
Barriers overcome to achieve success
Developing a shared understanding and agreement on standards, where none previously existed
Balancing the information needs and usability of the final document to provide users with a succinct, informative and reliable end product.
Developers concerned about another level of requirements beyond the planning scheme. This was addressed by obtaining developer buy in through the launch and review of the document.
Costs / Benefits associated with the Project
Providing this document to Developers, Agencies and Authorities, Council staff, and Consultants will facilitate the development of sustainable communities.