Victoria Point’s green vision becomes a reality

Victoria Point’s green vision becomes a reality
Sean Car

More than 2800 sqm of largely concreted space along the Marvel Stadium concourse will soon be transformed into a public green oasis thanks to a bold initiative by the Victoria Point owners’ corporation.

Since 2017, the OC at Victoria Point led by its chair Dr Janette Corcoran has been working alongside the City of Melbourne, Development Victoria and a range of experts to reimagine its podium level garden.

And after years of negotiations, detailed designs and careful planning, its green vision will soon become a reality after the $1.2 million project received final approvals last month to begin construction.

Conceived through the council’s Urban Forest Fund grants program, established in 2017 to accelerate greening across the municipality, the project will transform Victoria Point’s podium into a welcoming green space for the community.

Through new and expanded garden beds, 630 sqm of large canopy trees and native indigenous plantings, a total of 2850 sqm of green cover – representing a 103 per cent increase – will completely overhaul one of Docklands’ busiest thoroughfares.

Stormwater runoff will be reduced on the site, with 2200 sqm of permeable garden bed surfaces capable of holding high amounts of water and rainwater being captured in dry “creek beds” and directed to a storage tank on the lower level.

Designed by renowned landscape architecture firm ASPECT Studios with plantings curated by Billy’s Nursery, the council has provided $500,000 in matched funding towards the project, while Development Victoria has contributed $350,000.

As well as providing new areas for relaxation and gardening opportunities for local residents and workers, Dr Corcoran said she hoped the reimagined space would be embraced by the community.

“It’s been a long time and we’re now at the stage of making it happen. It’s going to be so worthwhile and I think it will completely change the nature of this area,” Dr Corcoran said.

With around 80 per cent of land within the City of Melbourne under private ownership, the council’s ambition to green as much of the city as possible is limited.

In an effort to mitigate the heat island effect and increase biodiversity, the Urban Forest Fund provides matched financial support to new greening projects on private property, such as gardens, tree planting, vertical greening or green roofs.

Dr Corcoran told Dockland News that the Victoria Point project represented the council’s largest funding allocation in the Urban Forest Fund’s history as it “fitted perfectly with their criteria”.

The concreted Marvel Stadium concourse is identified as a hotspot in the council’s urban heat island effect studies due to its absorption and radiation of heat. As part of its commitment to help limit global temperature rise to under two degrees Celsius by 2050, the council is constantly working to cool the city through greening projects.

The council’s environment portfolio chair Cr Rohan Leppert said it was excited to support the project, which he said would deliver significant community, environmental and economic benefits to Docklands.

“We know Docklands residents have been calling for more green space, and we’ll be working closely with the Victoria Point high-rise apartment owners’ corporation to transform this area of our city,” he said.

“The plans for Victoria Point include new garden beds, vegetated mounds with native plants, native trees and new lawn seating.”

“We’re hopeful this project will create a green oasis in one of the busiest pedestrian thoroughfares in Docklands, providing shade and microclimate cooling benefits to make the area more enjoyable for the community.”

Group head precincts at Development Victoria Geoff Ward said it was pleased to support the residents of Victoria Point in reviving their corner of Docklands with a “fantastic new outdoor space”.

“This is a great initiative generated by the community,” Mr Ward said.

“The upgrades will encourage visitors to take advantage of the new space and will also provide a fantastic outdoor area for local businesses and residents of Victoria Point, while improving connections across the Docklands precinct.”

“There has been a strong emphasis on sustainability in the design, with the new trees and plants chosen to reflect the indigenous flora of Docklands.”

“We want to congratulate the residents of Victoria Point – one of the longest standing buildings within Docklands – who have worked extremely hard to develop and design this project.”

“This initiative shows what the community in Docklands can do, bringing together neighbours to deliver a project which will provide jobs during its construction, as well as delivering a fantastic new open space for them to enjoy.”

Through a women’s safety initiative by Plan Australia called Free To Be, Dr Corcoran said Marvel Stadium was also identified as an area where women didn’t feel safe.

Having organised a Women’s Safety Walk with Plan Australia in 2018, she said women engaged with designers about their experiences of the area, which were fed into Victoria Point’s final designs for its garden.

She said the OC was also in ongoing discussions with the stadium’s owners the AFL as to it involvement in the project. She also added that she hoped the rejuvenation of the area would help support the garden’s abutting shopfronts, many of which have closed due to COVID-19.

The project is due to be completed by July 2022 •

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