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Greenline council rift

09 Sep 2020

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By Sean Car

A leak from within the City of Melbourne regarding a “top secret” plan to connect the inner city with new green spaces and cycling paths has highlighted a divide within the senior ranks of council’s management ahead of the election.

On August 16, the Herald Sun exclusively revealed details and renders of the council’s “top secret” project, which would see Royal Park connected with Port Phillip Bay via North Melbourne, Docklands, the Yarra River’s North Bank in the CBD and Southbank Boulevard.

In what is sure to be a hotly contested issue at the upcoming council elections, the renders showed pedestrians and cyclists through the streets of West Melbourne and Docklands (featured image). Known as “Greenline”, the Herald Sun reported that the concept “combined elements of city council planner ideas with Lord Mayor Sally Capp’s election pledge for Melbourne to have its own version of New York’s High Line Park”.

The plans were leaked prior to a council forum in August, and sources within the council said the presentation from senior management delegitimised the Lord Mayor’s own Greenline vision emphasising the Yarra River’s North Bank. While the source of the leak is unclear, CEO Justin Hanney is understood to have put all councillors and staff on notice regarding leaking information to media outlets.

Former councillor Stephen Mayne said he wasn’t surprised by what he described as “professional jealousy” within senior ranks. “I don’t think Sally has felt that supported by administration and there is a bit of a ‘blow-ins’ culture from some who’ve been there for too long. This is the ultimate manifestation of that concept,” he said.

A further presentation on the project is understood to have since been made by management at another council forum. Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood told Southbank News that council officers had been unable to share how much of council’s resources had been invested in the project over the past six months and he feared much of the proposal was “beyond the remit of council” •

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