Council adds big Greenline investment to election wish list

Council adds big Greenline investment to election wish list
David Schout

Ahead of federal and state elections in 2022, the City of Melbourne wants the state and Commonwealth governments to each pump $100 million into the “city-shaping” Greenline project, which had now opened to expressions of interest from local and international designers.

Expected to be completed by 2028, the project would see a six-metre-wide pathway established along the Yarra River’s northbank from Birrarung Marr all the way to the Bolte Bridge.

And the council is calling out for significant investment, ahead of a federal election expected in May and a state election in November.

In separate “advocacy priorities” documents for both levels of government, the council said that the river’s northern side compared unfavourably with a “revitalised Southbank” and was in desperate need of renewal.

“Just as Southbank and Federation Square energised Melbourne at the turn of the century, the Greenline transformation of the north bank will usher in a new era for the river at a time we need it most,” the documents read.

“Early forecasting indicates that through a proposed investment of up to $300 million, Greenline is expected to deliver more than $1 billion in economic activity and create up to 1000 jobs during construction.

In a speech delivered during Melbourne Design Week at Arbory Afloat, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said strong levels of investment was crucial to the project’s fortunes.

“Work is well underway and we’re advocating to the federal and state governments to help fast-track Greenline’s delivery with staged co-funding,” she said.

“We’re asking them for $100 million each, with the remaining third to be provided in partnership between us, our key stakeholders, and the private sector.”

At this stage the state and federal government are yet to give public indication of their level of investment in the project, and whether they would meet the council’s request.

As of late March, the council had also opened expressions of interest for designs on the project, seeking submissions from near and far.

“[We’ll be] inviting firms in Australia and abroad to help us design the future of this city-shaping project for Melbourne’s future public realm,” Cr Capp said.

“Experts know intimately the leaps of faith and the rewards involved in shaping a city, and I look forward to seeing the city’s vision come to life through their concepts.”

After draft Greenline plans were endorsed in May 2021, a “final implementation plan” for Greenline was endorsed by councillors in December 2021 following work with 40 key stakeholders and almost 400 public submissions.

In her March 23 speech, the Lord Mayor — who made Greenline a key part of her 2018 by-election and 2020 general election strategy, winning on both occasions — said the potential of the project was considerable.

“Think upgraded parks, pedestrian bridges and boardwalks – a well-frequented and much-loved passage that acknowledges and celebrates our city’s rich Aboriginal culture and heritage,” Cr Capp said.

“You can imagine it now – balmy January nights wandering uninterrupted from a match at the Australian Open to the waterfront bars, restaurants and nightlife of Docklands. Luscious green lunchbreak strolls, and a sprawling new urban realm for families to explore – supported by adjacent riverside dining and cafes. Many cities have superb riverbanks and that’s what we’re creating here in Melbourne.”

Cr Capp’s vision for Greenline was inspired by the Highline project in New York, which is now one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions •


Caption: New aerial shots revealing a planned path of the four-kilometre Greenline trail on the Yarra River’s north bank.

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