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Editions

Good news for the esplanade

02 Dec 2015

Good news for the esplanade Image

Concerns that large commercial buildings would be constructed along Harbour Esplanade were relieved last month after Places Victoria revealed the height of two of the new wharf decks.

Places Victoria announced it had received funding approval to reinstate the two wharf decks either side of Central Pier.

The decks will be rebuilt at the same height as the adjacent deck where Cow up a Tree and Hortus are located, which was rebuilt more than a decade ago.

The height of the decks precludes large commercial structures as they do not meet the Victorian Government’s requirements to future-proof new building against rising sea-levels.

Since 2008, the State Government has required authorities to plan for a sea level rise of no less than 0.8 metres by 2100.

Accordingly, all new buildings in areas such as Docklands, which is considered to be within the sea level rise zone, are required to have a floor level 2.4 metres higher than the average sea level.

Concerns about likelihood of larger structures on the esplanade were originally raised when Places Victoria released the Harbour Esplanade master plan in December last year.

The street level height of the esplanade and the existing wharf decks is 1.4 metres above sea level, but the master plan proposed reinstating the two decks either side of Central Pier at 2.6 metres above sea level, seemingly to allow for larger structures.

However, the decks will now be rebuilt at street level, with construction set to begin by mid-2016.

Places Victoria says it will rebuild the northern-most and southern-most decks in the future as funding becomes available.

The master plan indicates the southern deck will be reinstated at street level, while the northern deck will be rebuilt at 2.4 metres above sea level.

According to Places Victoria general manager Simon Wilson, the reinstatement of the first two decks are the first phase of realising the Harbour Esplanade master plan, which aims to see the esplanade become a waterfront destination.

“The Harbour Esplanade Master Plan includes plans for green open space, improved connections and a number of zones including exhibition and events, water transport, heritage vessel and a recreation zone featuring a water play area,” Mr Wilson said.

“There is potential for some buildings, such as partially reconstructed heritage sheds, along Harbour Esplanade to provide places where people can buy a drink, have a bite to eat or visit a gallery, which are the kinds of activities people want to do in the area based on feedback received during the community engagement,” Mr Wilson said.

Places Victoria plans to appoint a contractor in the next few months and will advise timeframes for the wharf works and measured to mitigate potential impacts from the construction.

The urban renewal authority said it was working with stakeholders in the area to minimise disruption during the works and said Hortus café would continue to operate.

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