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Editions

E-Gate, what is to become of it?

28 May 2009

E-Gate, what is to become of it? Image

There’s a lot of excitement currently surrounding the potential future of the E-gate site, located north of Docklands.

Ideas have included a housing and commercial development and even a new football stadium but, according to a State-Government think tank, it’s an ideal opportunity to develop a world-leading Ecological Business District (EBD) or zero-carbon eco-city.

E-Gate encompasses 20 hectares in West Melbourne, between North Melbourne Station and Footscray Rd and is called E-Gate because it is gate number ‘e’, along Footscray Rd. The land is owned by VicTrack and is currently used mainly for logistics and transport-related purposes.

According to a statement by the State Government, “The site’s current leases extend to the end of 2014, and any potential redevelopment plans are some way off. The feasibility study is the next phase of planning.”

Jumping in early, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) has been quick to raise the idea of an eco-suburb that also becomes an on-going expo for eco-innovation.

VEIL’s Project Co-ordinator Dianne Moy said: “When we heard the E-gate site was coming up for lease we thought it was a great opportunity for us to intervene in which way the development was going and to push sustainability.”

In utilising academics and students from Melbourne, Monash, RMIT and Swinburne Universities VEIL looked at what Melbourne needed and came up with a series of proposals for a sustainable mixed-use residential and commercial development that includes producing renewable energy onsite, growing its own food, an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases and no cars.

“We’d anticipate about 6000 residents and, of those, maybe 3000 would work in the city. They could either walk or cycle in or catch existing transport. There would also be jobs on site as well, developing new green businesses.”

Other ideas include using photo and bio remediation, or using plants, to clean up the site; developing high density, low-rise apartments; sewage would be treated on-site with the methane used for power production; urban wind towers and solar panels to create electricity.

Ms Moy said: “We’d also be looking at how this can integrate with the rest of Melbourne, but as many of these systems are still quite new, just how effective they are is still not fully understood. We’d use the site for research to test and trial systems, which could then be exported.”

“This is a unique opportunity to understand how a sustainable community works from the ground up and to measure how well it’s working. This has not really been done before. It would become a living testing ground. People would come and experience the site and take their learnings back to their own part of Melbourne.”

Ms Moy acknowledged that cost was a major factor, “which is why we wanted the Government to start thinking about the site. We should be aiming to meet target goals for 2050 … doing the best we can possibly do now.”

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