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Footbridge to honour the father of Southbank

16 Apr 2015

Footbridge to honour the father of Southbank Image

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has flagged a proposal to name the footbridge connecting the Flinders St underpass to Southbank, in honour of former Labor Planning Minister Evan Walker.

Speaking on radio in February in the wake of Mr Walker’s death, the Lord Mayor paid tribute to the visionary architect who was attributed with the creation of Southbank.

“I must say I’m a great admirer of the work of Evan Walker and he championed ideas well before their time. I mean the idea of protection and urban renewal now is upper-most in our minds as we plan for the future growth of the city,” he said.

“Southbank in those days was a wasteland and Evan Walker was really the father of urban renewal in Melbourne and so I think he’s deserving of commemoration.”

According to the Lord Mayor, the footbridge currently has no name and he said it provided the perfect landmark to commemorate the man known as “the father of Southbank”.

“How irresistible is it to make a pedestrian bridge the Walker Bridge? It doesn’t have a name and it is directly connected to what Evan Walker did in rejuvenating the Yarra.”

“I’m happy to follow that through. Whatever the bridge is finally called, I think that is the feature that is appropriate to commemorate Evan Walker’s legacy to the city.”

A spokesperson for the City of Melbourne (CoM) said the process to formally register a submission to change the name of the bridge was underway but would take some months to complete.

“The CoM sought and recently received in-principle support from the Office of Geographic Names to rename the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge the Evan Walker Bridge,” the spokesperson said.

“Public consultation will be conducted in accordance with their guidelines before a submission can be made to the Office of Geographic Names to formally register the new name.”

Evan Walker passed away in February aged 79, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

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