Council renews calls for tram to Fishermans Bend

Council renews calls for tram to Fishermans Bend
Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has once again stressed the urgent need for a tram connection to Fishermans Bend after endorsing its own position on the state government’s draft developer contributions plan for the urban renewal precinct.

Councillors unanimously supported a submission made by council management to the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) at the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on February 20, which made a suite of recommendations.

The government’s plan seeks to consolidate all infrastructure charges into one contribution from developers in Fishermans Bend, which for the first time will include contributions to open space previously collected under the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

It also allocates $309 million towards construction of major drainage and flood mitigation projects across Fishermans Bend and surrounding areas, replacing any charges ordinarily enforced on new development by Melbourne Water.

The draft plan identifies a total of $2.44 billion worth of infrastructure needed in Fishermans Bend, with $1.75 billion of this expected to be provided for through developer contributions resulting in a funding gap of $698 million.

The council noted in its submission, however, that the draft plan primarily funded “essential” infrastructure projects, with the detail for what constituted such projects not provided.

While it acknowledged “local” projects such as open spaces, minor streets, laneways, and community facilities would be funded between itself and developers, it stressed that “catalytic” infrastructure such as the new tram line and Melbourne Metro 2 “must be funded by the Victorian Government”.

Two of Fishermans Bend’s five precincts – Lorimer, much of which is in Docklands, and the Employment Precinct – are situated within the City of Melbourne’s municipal boundaries. The remaining three, Sandridge, Wirraway and Montague are locally governed by the City of Port Phillip.

Cr Rohan Leppert said the City of Melbourne wanted to make it clear that its support for the plan and the ongoing urban renewal of Fishermans Bend generally, was “contingent on that tram line being built”.

“We need the tram, we need the train as well, but for goodness sake, we need to know when the tram line is going to be built and so our support cannot be seen to be support in and of itself,” Cr Leppert said.

 

If the tram is not built, the land values and the building finance strategies and the ability for developers to actually build the housing that is anticipated in Lorimer as well as the rest of Fishermans Bend, it’s just not going to work.

 

“So, we need to make it very, very clear that our support is contingent on that tram line being built. We need to redouble our efforts to advocate to the state government and make it very clear that Fishermans Bend still has the opportunity to fail, and it will fail if the if there’s no public transport in and out.”

In February, Infrastructure Victoria, the state government’s independent adviser, told sibling publication Southbank News that a tram line route north of the West Gate Freeway was “most urgent and should be delivered by 2026”.

“Residential development alone is projected to create 260,000 extra daily trips by 2050. There are only limited Yarra River crossings, existing roads cannot meet growing demand efficiently or sustainably, and other movements are impeded by the West Gate Freeway,” Infrastructure Victoria said in a statement, which also recommended a tram route south of the West Gate Freeway.

The tram route which remains in the Melbourne Planning Scheme under the Fishermans Bend framework connects Collins St to Hartley St via a new tram bridge across the Yarra River through Docklands. 

The government originally mooted a new tram to the precinct by 2025, however has yet to announce any funding for a connection, with potential corridors along Turner and Plummer streets having also been previously flagged. •

 

Caption: An historic render of how the new tram bridge could look across the Yarra River through Docklands.

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