Harbour Esplanade – the next stages
Planning has started on the next stages of the Harbour Esplanade redevelopment.
With stage 1 heading for completion, VicUrban and the City of Melbourne have started discussions about how the vast area between the roadway and the water is to be treated. The two bodies met to discuss the project on January 31.
Available finance will be crucial to the outcome, with VicUrban having limited funds set aside for the project.
VicUrban general manager for Docklands Simon Wilson won’t say how much has been allocated to the project, but admits that other funding sources need to be found.
“That’s not to say that we can’t design to a budget,” Mr Wilson said. “And, in any event, we will be speaking with the community before we do anything.”
Next month, planting of up to 210 Norfolk Island Pines between Bourke St and Docklands Drive will start.
Mr Wilson said the trees had been ready since last year but it was decided to wait until the worst summer conditions had passed.
“And if we get another hot spell when we intend to plant, we will postpone again,” he said.
The trees, which will be between five and seven metres tall when planted, are currently being cared for at a nursery in Newcastle and have been selected for their suitability to coastal conditions, hardiness and ability to provide year-round shade and shelter.
Mr Wilson pointed to similar plantings at Portsea, Warrnambool and at Gawler in South Australia as evidence of the species’ suitability for Docklands.
Pits for the trees and irrigation lines have been installed in anticipation of the plantings.
Mr Wilson said within the coming months, residents, workers and visitors would be able to enjoy new street furniture, including bench seats, drinking fountains and bike hoops, the first of which are now being installed between Bourke and LaTrobe streets.
“The Harbour Esplanade redevelopment will ultimately see this important public space transformed into a new harbour-side destination for Melbourne,” Mr Wilson said •