About the Myrtle and Macleay Parks Master Plan

Myrtle and Macleay Parks in Balwyn North form a major sporting and recreation precinct for our community. At this location there are:

  • 8 outdoor netball courts
  • 6 sporting fields, mainly used for baseball, cricket and soccer
  • 3 sports pavilions
  • a Scout Hall
  • a playground.

We are developing a master plan that includes a long-term vision and framework for improving this precinct. It will help guide any changes, identify areas for improvement and allow us to take on new opportunities so our whole community can enjoy this popular open space.

You can learn more about the purpose of master plans for parks on our Improving parks and sportsgrounds page.

Community consultation

In June and July 2023, we asked our community for feedback to help shape the draft master plan. Thank you to everyone who contributed. We received a high volume of responses:

  • 865 surveys were completed
  • 94 pins were dropped into the map with location-specific ideas
  • 23 people attended a workshop.

Who we heard from online

We heard from a diverse range of community members:

  • 50% of participants were men, 49% were female and 1% preferred not to answer.

  • The age groups most represented were 35-49 years and 50-59 years. We also heard from children and younger people aged 12 and 34 years (25%).

  • Residents from Balwyn North provided the most responses (23%).

    Many participants lived in other Boroondara suburbs and visited the parks (57%).

    Remaining participants lived outside Boroondara. They are likely to be part of a sporting club or people who live close to our municipal boundary (20%).

What we heard online

Community members were asked to provide feedback on what they like about Myrtle and Macleay Parks, what improvements they would like to see and their ideas for the future. The feedback emphasises the need to ensure the master plan meets the needs of those who use the parks for both recreation and organised sport.

Reasons people visit the parks

Participants told us they use the parks for both recreation and organised sports.

71% of participants use the park for organised sport with a club or organisation, including:

  • baseball
  • cricket
  • group fitness training
  • netball
  • soccer/football.

Many participants also use the parks for recreation, including:

  • walking (36%)
  • walking a dog on lead (25%)
  • walking a dog off lead (22%)
  • playing on the playground (21%)
  • jogging (14%)
  • skating or bike riding (10%).

A small number of participants also use the parks for other recreation activities, like scouts and Tai Chi.

Key themes

Most of the feedback our community shared can be grouped into 3 key themes:

This included feedback about car parking, lighting, flood control and paths.

When asked what our community liked about the parks, we heard that our community:

  • perceive the parks to be safe environments for families, children and pets
  • appreciate the accessible location
  • enjoy the gravel and unpaved walking paths for walking, jogging and cycling.

“Wide open spaces. Easy to get around. It feels safe because there are lots of other people and activities.”

“I love the walking paths around the sports grounds and being able to have my dog off lead.”

When asked about their least favourite thing about the parks, our community said there is:

  • not enough car parking and there are traffic issues at peak times
  • inadequate lighting, particularly during winter, which can be limiting for sporting schedules and recreation (like walking, dog walking and jogging)
  • poor drainage along paths.

“Parking! On a Saturday morning it is very difficult to get a park.”

“Bad Lighting across the park.”

This included feedback about the natural environment, park amenities (like the playground and Scout Hall), dog walking, signage and cultural heritage.

When asked what our community liked about the parks, we heard that our community:

  • like the abundance of trees and greenery which contribute to a serene atmosphere
  • like the passive open spaces for relaxation, enjoyment and recreation
  • consider the playground to be popular among families with children.

“The green spaces are vast and beautiful with the trees. Community atmosphere. It just has a good vibe with all the birds and natural areas.”

“Very open, lot of areas of grass and great playground.”

When asked about their least favourite thing about the parks, our community said that:

  • poor control of dogs off-lead creates safety concerns for other park users
  • there is a desire for more passive amenities in open spaces, like picnic tables and seats
  • signage and routes could be improved throughout the parks.

“No sheltered sitting/picnic area near the playground.”

“I would like better signage about where dogs must be on lead, and where they can be off lead. I think they must be on lead along the paths.”

This included feedback about netball, cricket, soccer and baseball facilities, as well as pavilions and toilets.

When asked what our community liked about the parks, our community said:

  • they appreciate the diversity of sporting opportunities at the parks
  • the grounds are well-maintained to support sporting activity
  • the precinct is a place to improve health, wellbeing and social connections.

“Organised sport facility for my children where they can participate in sport in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.”

“The local atmosphere - community sport.”

When asked about their least favourite thing about the parks, our community said:

  • the pavilions and toilet facilities do not meet their standards
  • there is a need for upgraded sports facilities, including improved surfaces
  • they would like more sheltered areas for viewing and spectating.

“Toilets lacking. Poor club room facilities.”

“Sometimes very muddy and not enough seating when watching sporting games.”

Competing views

Through consultation, we heard a diverse range of perspectives, including some competing views which we are carefully considering as we draft the master plan:

Some participants expressed mixed views about the cricket pitches on the ovals.

“Love Myrtle Park, it's such a beautiful ground and it has one of the best cricket tables in the ECA. The ground is always in beautiful condition, and it drains very well when it rains.”

“The cricket pitches in the middle of the ground make it very difficult to train properly as the ball bounces differently and you cannot tackle safely on the cricket pitch.”

The baseball and soccer clubs advocated for turf enhancements. They suggested using artificial and hybrid turfs.

Others felt artificial and hybrid turfs could adversely affect cricket clubs who use the parks and those who use the space for recreation.

“Synthetic soccer turf would be a dream!”

“…under no circumstances should Macleay 3 be converted from current mixed use (cricket, soccer, jogging etc) to a soccer only ground or to artificial turf which will impliedly achieve the same result.”

Most participants said they preferred unsealed gravel paths throughout the parks, particularly the east-west link along the northern boundary of the park. However, some said they’d prefer sealed bicycle paths through the parks.

Sealed bicycle paths are not being considered as part of this master plan.

This is because in Boroondara’s parks and open spaces, our approach is to maintain and upgrade existing unsealed gravel paths. We do this because:

  • we want to preserve the natural environment
  • informal shared paths are mostly used for recreation and local trips
  • more pedestrians use the paths compared to bicycle riders.

This is consistent with Council’s position outlined in the Boroondara Bicycle Strategy 2022-32.

Who we heard from at our workshop

The workshop included a representative sample of residents who lived on streets adjoining the parks and representatives from clubs and organisations that use the parks, including:

  • North Balwyn Baseball Club
  • North Balwyn Bowls Club
  • Boroondara Cricket Club
  • 1st North Balwyn Scout Group
  • Balwyn Saints Cricket Club
  • North Balwyn CC
  • Boroondara Netball Association
  • Boroondara Eagles Football Club

Some clubs were invited, but could not attend:

  • Miss Spartan Group Fitness
  • Melbourne Baseball Club
  • One FC.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

What we heard at the workshop

Workshop participants identified areas for improvement which can be summarised into these themes:

  • Upgrade and redevelopment improvements to pavilion.

  • Improved informal recreation facilities and signage.

  • Playing field and court improvements.

  • Parking and traffic improvements.

  • Lighting improvements.

  • Playground improvements.

  • Pathways improvements.

  • Improving open spaces and environmental benefits.

  • Opportunities for art, culture and education.

  • Upgrades to the scout hall and building.

All information gathered during the workshop is being considered alongside what we heard online.

Next steps

We are considering the diverse range of perspectives as we continue to draft a master plan that balances the needs of everyone who uses these much-loved open spaces.

There are also some related strategies, and a policy currently under development, which are important for us to consider, including:

  • Boroondara Community Plan renewal
  • Public Toilet Strategy
  • Tree Canopy Strategy
  • Urban Biodiversity Strategy
  • Draft Organised Sport Seasonal Allocation Policy.

Aligning the 10-year master plan with these strategies and policies will ensure it reflects what our community values more broadly across Boroondara.

We expect to present the draft master plan to the newly-elected Councillors in late-2024 before it is shared with our community for further feedback.

Select the Follow button at the top of this page to receive updates about the next stage of consultation.