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Is Southbank about to lose its secret rainforest?

10 Sep 2019

Is Southbank about to lose its secret rainforest? Image

Hidden behind glass walls at 12 Riverside Quay – right opposite the Evan Walker Bridge – is a genuine rainforest, complete with a mini waterfall feeding a burbling creek.

The building was owned by ExxonMobil until it sold to Macau casino king Loi Keong Kuong in 2017. Since then it has been empty.

Local resident and photographer Anders McDonald said he was concerned the secret rainforest would be destroyed by the new owner.

“Unverified sources have it that the new owner is about to renovate the whole building before repurposing it, and the ground floor will be deforested as part of the upgrade,” he said.

Mr McDonald said the forest was consisted of all of the plants that were in Melbourne before Europeans arrived, and was therefore a kind of time capsule of Melbourne flora.

“It’s the whole ground floor, it’s huge and there are fern trees that are 12 feet tall and a waterfall. The whole forest – ferns, stream and tall trees will be destroyed.”

“As a photographer, I have been lucky enough to shoot some exquisite images in the forest and I would hate to see it go.”

“We need as much green in Southbank as we can get. I hope the council, or someone, will step in to preserve Southbank’s green oasis for the whole community.”

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said there were no current planning applications for the property.

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