Analysts endorse $300 million Greenline project, predict triple return on investment
A $300 million green trail along the north bank of the Yarra River will more than pay for itself according to economic analysts, in a tick of approval for Lord Mayor Sally Capp’s legacy project.
“Greenline”, a four-kilometre path from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte Bridge, will deliver more than $3 of value for every dollar spent according to a business case prepared by consultancy group Ernst & Young.
The analysis is a strong endorsement for Cr Capp’s project, which she made a key part of her 2018 by-election and 2020 general election strategy.
The business case forecasted an increased economic activity of $740 million over 20 years because of Greenline, which was expected to be completed in 2028.
It was expected to create more than 3400 jobs during construction and more than 6400 ongoing jobs by 2042.
The City of Melbourne would hope the strong business case will attract greater levels of investment from upper levels of government.
So far the Federal Government has committed $20 million to the project, while the state government was yet to come to the table.
The council needed further commitment for the entire project to go ahead, however was confident of garnering the required investment.
At the time of publishing, the City of Melbourne councillors were expected to endorse the business case at their September 6 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.
Cr Capp said Greenline, which she has declared would represent Melbourne’s “biggest transformation” since the opening of Federation Square in 2002, would welcome “waves of new visitors, and inject millions of dollars into our economy”.
“The business case unequivocally shows the Greenline Project stacks up, delivering $3 for every dollar invested, and $740 million worth of economic and community benefits for Melbourne and Victoria,” she said.
“We need to be ambitious – and this is exactly the sort of project Melbourne needs to grow, drive investment and cement our position as Australia’s most liveable city.”
The analysis showed Greenline would attract more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the city every year, who will spend more than $23 million annually.
Beyond its economic value, the business case predicted the four-kilometre trail would also create a $60 million benefit from protecting and enhancing the environment, and $250 million in “social value” due to 330,000 hours of new recreational activities and the celebration of Aboriginal culture along the trail.
Delivery of the project will take place in stages, with work on “site one” at Birrarung Marr expected to begin in mid-2023.
The council released these plans in late July, which included a new 450-metre boardwalk at the prominent spot along the river.
Inspired by New York’s High Line trail, Greenline was set to be divided into five specific “precincts” on the river’s north bank, with Birrarung Marr the easternmost position.
From there (east to west), the precincts are: The Falls (“Yarro Yarro” in earlier plans), River Park, Maritime and Salt Water Wharf.
Melburnians have been encouraged to have their say on the draft plans for Greenline, however community consultation was set to close on September 12.
“Our plans are bold and will create new opportunities for everyone to engage with the river and its profound history, while attracting more visitors to the area. Now we want to hear what the community has to say on the future of this special site,” Cr Capp said. •
Caption: Greenline’s ‘Maritime Precinct’ across from South Wharf