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Roger fires up over council open space strategy

31 Jan 2012

The president of the Docklands Community Association Roger Gardner has dismissed the City of Melbourne’s new draft open space strategy as “misleading window dressing”.

Mr Gardner said the 36-page strategy released late last year did not provide for significant land-based open space in Docklands.

“I am critical of it because I think it is largely misleading window dressing. It says a lot but delivers little,” Mr Gardner said.

On Docklands, the strategy says: “A new local park in the NewQuay area is to be developed, along with additional local open spaces in the Yarra’s Edge and Victoria Harbour precincts. These spaces are proposed to be connected with a continuous public open space reserve along the waterfront with access to the water’s edge celebrating Victoria Harbour and the Yarra River as key strengths of Docklands.”

“Moonee Ponds Creek linear open space corridor will continue to be improved, providing recreational connectivity to the future municipal open space, north to E–Gate and Arden Macaulay urban renewal areas and to NewQuay Promenade,” the strategy says.

But Mr Gardner said: “The plans (as) per the maps do not provide for any significant land-based open space in Docklands – for the simple reason that there is no land left.”

“The same applies to other areas of the city outside of the existing major parks/ gardens, with no new major parks planned.”

In explaining the strategy to DCA members, Mr Gardner said: “The area marked for a park in Docklands … is the small 2 ha strip down off Docklands Drive near Bolte Bridge which may well go to the Melbourne Football Club. The size of the blue circle is exaggerated.”

“The map does show another blue circle for open space provision in the proposed redevelopment of the rail yards known as E-Gate on the other side of Footscray Rd and at the northern end.  This is not close for Docklands and the size again is dubious.”

“The nearest major gardens for us will continue to be Flagstaff,” he said.

“It is disappointing to say the least that whist extolling the virtues of open space ‘within easy walking distance’ the plans provide very little,” he said. “The plans provided in the link site say that water is open space which, whilst technically correct, does not provide for land based open space for leisure and recreation for a growing population.”

The chair of the council’s Eco-City Committee, Cr Cathy Oke, said the strategy sought to do as much as possible with the available space.

“Of course it would be ideal if we could have large spaces of available land to meet recreational and wellbeing needs,” she said. “But this is not the case and, as such, we also have to think creatively how to use the little space we do have.”

“I am especially excited about the opportunities that rehabilitating Moonee Ponds Creek will bring. I have seen the amazing transformation of similar derelict spaces overseas into truly active urban open space in cities with limited or no land.”

“Many of the proposals in the draft strategy are creative design solutions to use existing spaces better, to better match the recreational needs identified in the research without relying on huge amounts of non-existent land.”

“Small changes in existing spaces as identified in the draft strategy should achieve positive recreational outcomes for Docklands while we work towards and advocate for larger spaces to become available in new sites.”

“I strongly encourage anyone interested to provide feedback to the draft Open Space Strategy before 1st March via http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/ParksandActivities/Parks/Pages/OpenSpaceStrategy.aspx,” Cr Oke said.

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Comments

  • Emily Ballantyne-Brodie - Urban Reforestation at 12:35pm on 02/02/12

    Roof top gardens is also an option to all of those apartments and commercial buildings to consider. There is a lot of space to be utilised and then people will have a view of the harbour as they pick their herbs and flowers. The Docklands can be very beautiful!

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