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Southbank celebrates new parks

03 Mar 2020

Southbank celebrates new parks Image

By David Schout

On March 21, Southbank will celebrate the official opening of much-needed green space at both Boyd Park and Melbourne Square.

As one of the city’s most densely populated suburbs where 96 per cent of the population live in apartments with little access to open space, the day represents a step forward for locals and will be recognised with community events at both parks.

The new $3.5 million neighbourhood park at Boyd opened to the community in late 2019 and features a playground, new lawn areas, a temporary half-basketball court and communal garden.

The park outside the under-construction Melbourne Square, spanning over 3000sqm and billed as the suburb’s biggest, features pedestrian pathways, a tree-lined boulevard, pocket gardens, water features and a collection of sub-tropical plants, Australian natives and exotic species.

Both parks sit within touching distance of each other at Kavanagh and Balston streets, respectively.

Southbank Residents Association (SRA) president Tony Penna said the dual openings were of utmost importance for nearby residents.

“In one of our community surveys, the number one issue raised by our residents was lack of green open space,” he told Southbank News.

“It is a delight to have these new parks available to the community, and accessible to the densest residential block in Australia, between City Rd and Kavanagh St. Southbank Boulevard will also add to this in the coming year and we are looking forward to that being completed too.”

Mr Penna said that while there was excitement with the new parks, there was still a way to go for the unique area.

“The City of Melbourne is still a long way off its own target of 20 sqm per resident and this target only becomes more distant with every new high-rise tower that is built,” he said.

While the new park at Boyd opened to the public late last year, the March “official” launch was designed to give the new lawn and trees more time to establish themselves.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the green space was a “new backyard” for thousands of Southbank residents.

Speaking to Southbank News in 2018, Paul Curry - one of Cox Architecture’s leading visionaries behind Melbourne Square - said the design and use of green space at Boyd influenced the vision for developer OSK Property’s new park.

“The Boyd Park site has more of an active use so that was factored into the design of our park, and how it will link with Boyd and have some synergies and differing uses.”

While the Melbourne Square project is years from full completion, stage one - which alongside the park includes a supermarket and a range of other facilities - is due to be finished later this year.

OSK Property chairman Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat expressed his excitement in delivering much-needed open space for Southbank.

“Our new park at Melbourne Square is envisaged to be a lively community connector for residents and visitors of Southbank. It spans over 3700 sqm which makes it Southbank’s largest green space, and it has been designed in a way so it is programmable for a range of community events,” he said.

“We approached urban design specialists, Taylor Cullity Lethlean, to create the new park at Melbourne Square for us. We really admire their previous work including Birrarung Marr and the Australian Garden, and we are delighted they could be part of

our creative project team.”

“We are also excited to be running our Melbourne Square Open House event series throughout March and April, in which the park will play a key role.”

Community celebrations

Mr Penna said the March 21 community day at Boyd (from 10am to 4pm) had been envisioned for several years, and they wanted to ensure it had a “family focus”.

“It will be a great day for residents to get to meet a number of their community organisations, no doubt many that they didn’t realise existed,” he said.

The day, run in conjunction with the City of Melbourne, Boyd Community Hub and the SRA will feature:

  • Opening opening of the park by Lord Mayor Sally Capp
  • Children’s activities
  • Performances by Southbank-based cultural and artistic organisations
  • Presentations and talks at Boyd Community Hub’s Assembly Hall, and;
  • Displays by the Southbank Fire Brigade, Victoria Police, and local community groups

Across the road, the celebration at Melbourne Square will have a similar family feel, and (at time of publishing the March edition) was set to include:

  • Planting talk with The Plant Society
  • Meet the park designers, with Taylor Cullity Lethlean
  • Masterplan vision sessions with Cox Architecture
  • Good Cycle rent-a-bike pop-up
  • Live acoustic music performance(s)

For more info on the upcoming community days, visit southbankresidents.org.au and melbsquare.com.au

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