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Editions

Land for library swap mooted

01 Mar 2011

The City of Melbourne and VicUrban have proposed giving away public waterfront land to developers in exchange for building a Docklands library.

They say that the $9 million they have allocated between them is not enough to build the library and community centre, which was announced last year for construction on the Hub site in Harbour Esplanade.

The council says it costed a number of options to build the complex on the Hub site but couldn’t make the available budget stretch.

But rather than allocating more funds, they suggested exchanging public waterfront land between the NAB building and Central Pier to a private developer who would include the library and community centre as part of a commercial development.

This public open space had previously been earmarked for active recreational activities as part of the Harbour Esplanade redevelopment.

Not surprisingly, the council says a number of developers are interested in developing a proposal for this prime site.

However, it is understood that the site could not be prepared in time to meet the council’s timeline and that the council and VicUrban are now examining the practicalities of building the complex on the open space in front of the NAB building on Harbour Esplanade.

Other options are:

  • To build only the library next to the Hub and later extend the Hub into a community centre;
  • To contribute the $9 million to another private development in exchange for a library and community centre.

The council has given itself a 10-week deadline to decide on a course of action.  It then expects the library to be built within 12-14 months.

A VicUrban spokesperson said that, while VicUrban was contributing to the project, it was being led by the City of Melbourne.

In his Docklands News column this month, Docklands Community Association president Roger Gardner complains about lack of consultation on this project.

“The council report states that extensive consultation has taken place with Docklands. We presume this refers to VicUrban as there has been none with the DCA or anybody else,” Mr Gardner said.

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Comments

  • Rose Mercer at 3:35am on 05/03/11

    Placing the library/Hub on the waterfront is sheer craziness. NO! Keep the waterfront just that. The ideal place for the new library/Hub is exactly where it is place now. It's central to all of Docklands, it' well serviced by public transport, easily accessible and has some parking around it.

    There has certainly NOT been consultation about this insane idea.
  • Anonymous at 2:15pm on 06/03/11

    I can't help but wonder if this 'land for library swap' was cunningly incorporated into our poorly designed Harbour Esplanade redevelopment!
    We were told that the realignment of tram tracks into the centre of the roadway, was to provide additional parkland and recreational space! What a joke!
  • Nola Logan at 5:56pm on 15/03/11

    I personally would be horrified to see yet other buiding smack bang on the waterfront, that has been earmarked as open recreational space. The present Hub is the obvious place for a library, if in fact one is needed. As a user of the city Libraries I can see little value in spending that sort of money when we have these great resources so close by.

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