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Council urge action on “forgotten waterway”

03 Sep 2019

Council urge action on “forgotten waterway” Image

By David Schout

Ambitious plans for the revitalisation of Moonee Ponds Creek have been signed off by the City of Melbourne, but the ball is now in the state government’s court.

At an August 20 Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting councillors voted unanimously to endorse the Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan, which includes plans to transform the (southern) Docklands end of the creek.

As part of the plan, a “stormwater park” would be developed at E-Gate, which would include a boardwalk system moving through site allowing passive public engagement with the landscape.

Further south towards the Yarra River, plans include the development of a “biodiversity hotspot” with a focus on flood mitigation and new habitats for threatened species.

The creek’s mouth (where it meets the Yarra) would also be transformed into “a community meeting place with a boardwalk and recreational activities” under the plan.

But despite the ambitious proposals, the council does not own or manage any land within the creek corridor, and has termed the plan an “advocacy document”.

Environment portfolio chair councillor Cathy Oke said it was important the council clearly spelt out its vision for the creek’s future.

“This is a visionary document for a very important part of our municipality,” she said.

“(Residents) are wanting a waterway on their doorstep that is actually celebrated, and that’s what this document does.”

“It’s difficult because we have such little control and ownership over this waterway, yet we have so much interest and real desire to see it happen.”

Deputy Mayor Arron Wood said the creek had long been neglected, and decades of delays meant it was time for strong leadership.

“You think about what our forebears did with places like Fitzroy Gardens and some of our beautiful heritage parks and I genuinely believe that if we can get the collective energy to implement the Moonee Ponds Creek vision, that it will be looked back on with similar respect in future,” he said.

“We don’t want to be here in another 20 years’ time talking about the Moonee Ponds Creek concept plan of 1992 and then the Moonee Ponds vision of 2019 and not seeing that vision realised.”

The council received overwhelming public feedback that an improvement of cycling and walking trails along the creek was required.

And while councillors were unanimous in praising the release of the plan, Greens councillor Rohan Leppert said a publicly articulated vision was years overdue, particularly as East-West link proposals had “come and gone”.

“We have, unfortunately, in hindsight I think, not been public about where we want to be for a good five or six years after we commissioned such a plan,” he said.

“So, I’m just hopeful that the payoff for that wait really is that the VPA (Victorian Planning Authority) is going to get its submissions through to government.”

The VPA is preparing an implementation plan for the creek corridor which will make recommendations to the state government.

It is understood this will happen later this year.

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