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Urban renewal is in the spotlight

01 Mar 2011

Urban renewal is in the spotlight Image

The Planning Minister Matthew Guy received a lot of media attention last month for his vision to redevelop 200ha of light-industrial land in Port Melbourne.

Despite packaging this idea as part of the policy he took to last year’s state election, the media got very excited about the plan.

There is a good deal of confusion around the plan and specific details won’t be known until the formation of a new Urban Renewal Authority which is expected before July.

The Urban Renewal Authority is expected to subsume VicUrban’s role as master planner of Docklands.  It will also be responsible for redeveloping the 20ha E-Gate area to Docklands’ north.

And while the details surrounding the Port Melbourne project are sketchy, Mr Guy has said the area in question is:

  • Three times the size of Docklands;
  • Primarily south of the Westgate Freeway;
  • Includes only a small part of land north of the freeway near the Bolte Bridge;
  • Will not encroach of the Port of Melbourne’s operation; and
  • Will be developed in specific precincts.

He is talking about a 20-30 year project and, unlike the Docklands development, the area is mostly occupied.

Mr Guy has said he was not talking about relocating the heavy industry which is on the north side of the freeway.  But, rather, it is the light industrial area of Port Melbourne south of the freeway which he intends to convert to high-density residential.

This would be primarily achieved by rezoning the land.

He was quick to point out that any residential redevelopment would have “corresponding services to match” in a reference to what lessons had been learned from the Docklands experience.

“It will be a residential suburb, without corporate headquarters or a stadium,”Mr Guy said.

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