“No end in sight” for Moonee Ponds Creek trail closure
The City of Melbourne (CoM) has called on Development Victoria (DV) to “articulate a process and date” by which the Moonee Ponds trail in Docklands would be reopened, with Cr Rohan Leppert describing the situation as “outrageous”.
As part of the Docklands Summit Actions and Next Steps report tabled at the November 8 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors supported an amendment to the motion which expressed “serious concern” with the trail’s ongoing closure to the public.
The motion stated that the council’s acting CEO Alison Leighton write to DV and responsible Minister to give effect to its position to provide the public with a plan and timeframe for the trail’s reopening.
A section of the Moonee Ponds Creek trail adjacent to Docklands Studios Melbourne has been closed since November 2020 to enable the construction of the studios, while a further section of trail has been closed due to works associated with the West Gate Tunnel Project.
During the meeting, Cr Rohan Leppert said he was “very angry” that it still remained closed, stating the council “didn’t think it would take this long for the trail to be reopened and there appeared to be “no end in sight”.
“I’m very angry that the Moonee Ponds Creek public trail is still not open when permission was granted to close that temporarily to facilitate the refurbishment and expansion of the Docklands Studios,” he said.
“We didn’t think it would take this long for the trail to be reopened. There is no end in sight yet as to when the trail might be reopened and what design interventions might need to be pursued in order to actually get public access to the creek.”
“But, oh my goodness, it is outrageous that there is no plan in place; no time set, no process to explain to the public when public access to this public waterway will be reinstated.”
In response to questions from Docklands News as to whether it could provide the community with a timeline for the trail’s reopening, DV’s acting group head of precincts Niall Cunningham said it was working closely with the council on “options for reinstatement”.
“While we’re only in the very early stages of scoping this work – Development Victoria and CoM will continue to engage with stakeholders and the community in the development of any proposals to create a new trail,” Mr Cunningham said.
A statement from DV noted that prior to construction works beginning, it had established an alternative route, which “remains operational”, and said it would continue to work with the council to achieve its vision of a new trail outlined in council’s 2019 Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan.
The Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek's Kaye Oddie told Docklands News her group "very much welcomed Niall Cunningham and DV's initiative, post the Docklands Summit, in advancing the issue of reinstating the shared path along the Creek in Docklands".
"We understand that in the new year, they [DV] will be in a better position to progress a meeting of stakeholders and explore options," Ms Oddie said.
However, she added that since the Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan was adopted 2019, a number of the recommendations for this lowest section of the Creek were "no longer possible".
During a recent site visit with Melbourne Water and the City of Melbourne, she said her group had pointed out "a feasible, logical solution to reinstatement of the shared path".
"That is, to create a short section of boardwalk alongside the Docklands Studio 6 fenceline, reconnecting the path through open space, utilising the existing bridge over the canal and reforming the former path alongside the western edge of CityLink into Ron Barassi Snr Park," she said.
"We welcomed recommendations from the Docklands Summit for increased open space and linkages and see the reinstatement of the path a key item in this regard." •