WVGC Mulley st Tennis Courts Consultation
What are we seeking?
Minister Steel has asked the Club to demonstrate community support for the re-zoning of the Tennis Courts on Mulley st, Holder to Community Facility for WVGC to purchase and build a second gymnasium.
How are we doing this?
The Club is conducting an online survey where you can register your support or detail your concerns. Full details and FAQs on the project are below.
Woden Valley Gymnastics Club is a not-for-profit Community Sporting Club which has been in operation since 1979. At WVGC we believe that gymnastics provides the physical literacy skills needed to live a happy and holistic life. By challenging an individual's physical and mental abilities, in a safe, supportive, inclusive, and nurturing environment, we build strong, resilient, and adaptable people across all ages and stages of life to be valuable members of our community.
The Club moved into its home in Weston Creek, in what used to be the Holder High School Hall, in 1996. Since that time the Club has grown from 260 gymnasts to almost 1500 regular gymnasts servicing all ages and abilities and three times that many in school groups throughout the week and birthday parties on Sundays.
Our Club offers the widest range of programs of any gymnastics club in the ACT. Most people will be familiar with competitive Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics from events like the Olympics. WVGC provides those programs and many more. We pride ourselves on our inclusive, friendly and fun culture and provide programs for gymnasts ranging from toddlers right through to the most mobility-challenged in our community (ages 8months to 80+!)
● Kindergym (9 months to 5 years school age)
● Gymnastics For All (Recreational Gymnastics)
● Acrobatic Gymnastics
● Adult Gym
● Groove & Move (Fitter for Life, over 50’s)
● Enable Gym (special needs)
● Sporting Schools
● Birthday Parties
● … and more!
The Club is one of the largest employers in Weston Creek with more than 60 staff including 11 full time specialist Coaches and Administrators. Many of our casual coaches are ex-Woden Valley gymnasts themselves and the Club has provided them, and many of the young people in Weston Creek, a pathway to obtain their first work experience.
In 2021, the Club is fuller than ever. Along with individual attendance, many of our gymnasts train multiple times through the week. With the expected growth in Molonglo and Woden over the coming years, and the Club’s existing strain on equipment and time, the Club is in need of expansion to meet the current and increasing demand.
A Second Gymnasium
Our existing facility is too small for our future needs so our options to service the future community needs are to extend our existing building, move to a larger building, or expand into a second facility.
Our existing building was expanded in 2009 has little capability for further expansion given the surrounding space. Finding space in Canberra to construct or occupy an existing building that would meet our growth needs would likely be both prohibitively expensive and take us far from our existing membership to locations like Hume or Fyshwick.
Constructing a second gymnasium presents as the most viable option on several levels though finding a site that is suitable is also tricky.
Woden and Phillip are extremely tight for suitable land and there is already existing pressure on the Government to construct a multi-use sports complex in the Woden area. Due to our need for equipment and apparatus setup and our capacity to occupy a sports hall for almost all time periods throughout the week, a shared occupancy, multi-use sports complex does not fit well with our Club activities.
Land in Molonglo town centre is still many years away and there is expected to be significant competition for the very limited Community Facility zoned land for both sporting and non-sporting uses.
The site right next door to our existing facility represents the best option for consideration to move forward initially.
Mulley St tennis courts
The site has 5 derelict asphalt tennis courts surrounded by damaged chain fencing that have been unused since the High School closed over 25 years ago. Apart from being an eyesore, they are increasingly a health and safety risk. The site would allow the Club to share resources (coaches, staff and equipment) between the two buildings and allow the Club to construct a purpose built facility that can cater for competition and event spectators, something our current facility does not accommodate well. Additionally, a survey of our members found that location was second only to our fantastic coaches and staff in a list of things most liked about our Club.
For the Club to obtain the site we would need the land custodians to agree to begin a Territory Plan Overlay change process from Urban Open Space to Community Facility which would match the existing Land Use zone and the rest of the land on the entire Eastern side of Mulley st.
The land parcel that the Mulley st tennis courts reside on extends all the way from Mulley st around the rear of the Montessori School and back to Mulley st.
Parcel Overlay Zone Change
An area of roughly 5300m2 be sectioned off Section 45 Block 21 Holder and rezoned to Community Facility with the intention of making the site available for Gymnastics and community related activities. This section would leave the mature trees alongside the Montessori carpark still within an Urban Open Space zone. Additionally, this would leave the rest of the parcel as untouched Urban Open Space.
Recognising that there is significant need in the Weston Creek area for open hall spaces that can be hired on both regular and one-off basis, WVGC would like to include a small community use hall in the development.
Small community clubs such as martial arts, dance and other community groups have difficulty booking the available halls in the area as they are very heavily utilised. This space may also be of use to the two neighbouring schools and WVGC also has a growing school holiday program that could utilise this space.
The Club sees a small community hall as a way of providing even greater services to the community whilst also providing a supplementary source of income. The potential uses for such a community hall would be governed by the Community Facility land use restrictions
Frequently Asked Questions
How big will it be?
Gymnastics Australia Facility Guidelines indicate 1500m2 as a recommended size for a community gymnastics facility. This is similar in floor area to our existing gymnasium next door. Guidelines also list a 7-8m ceiling height which marginally taller than a 2-story house and the same height as the extension to the rear of our existing gym.
For reference, the existing chain fence on the site is roughly 5 Metres tall. The existing site level is also approximately 1.5m below the road level. As a visual reference, our desirable size is slightly larger in area than the new gymnasium at Mount Stromlo High School (1200m2) and around half the height (15m).
What will it look like?
Our Club has been operating in Holder for 25 years. With a new building we would like to be operating for at least a further 25 and would like to construct a building that is both attractive to our gymnasts and the wider community. A building that is in keeping with the existing natural and built environment is desirable also.
Where will it be located?
There are many siting options and configurations for the site. WVGC engaged Cox Architecture to develop some concept ideas for the community on how the site might be configured. These concepts considered many issues including existing treescape, access to/from the street, carparking, access between the two gymnasiums, visual blocking from the street and more. Some of these concepts are included in this slideshow.
The site is large enough to include a carpark so impact on existing car parks in the area will be limited. During the Club’s non-busy times, there may even be scope to ease the existing burden on carparking in the area. There are Planning regulations on the number of car spaces required based on the floor area of a building.
At times, Mulley st can be a very busy road. Among concerns from both St Jude’s and the Montessori School are potential traffic increases. The main busy times for Mulley st due to School drop off and pickup are between 8-9:30am and 2:30-3:30pm. The busiest times at our gym are from 4pm onwards on weekdays and 8am-12pm on Saturdays - outside of the school busy times. Many of our gymnast families drop their gymnast at the gym for training and return later for pickup which is staggered throughout the afternoon and evening. Whilst there will be potential for increase in overall traffic volume on Mulley st, we don’t imagine it will contribute to the existing school drop off and pick up times or have a defined peak time. As part of a Territory Plan Variation an in-depth traffic plan will be conducted.
The existing trees on the site are an important part of the character of Mulley st. We would like to see as many retained as possible. Certainly, one of the things that is attractive about the site is that it is already flat and largely cleared for the existing Tennis courts. Our desired land-use change area has excluded the mature trees towards the Montessori carpark for these reasons and so should
remain untouched. There may be some vegetation that may be removed due to safety concerns; however it is too early in the process to determine vegetation change in detail.
Pedestrian traffic between gymnasiums
Gymnastics classes will not have a need to change gymnasium mid-lesson so we imagine that transition between the two will be limited. Some pedestrian traffic of coaches, staff and gymnasts will inevitably occur. To maintain the safety of everyone, any development will seek to naturally limit the number of crossing points over the Montessori driveway with barriers, planting, signs etc and utilise measures to ensure pedestrians stop and look before they cross. The
safety of everyone is our highest priority.