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Locals, stakeholders endorse city section of Greenline, less convinced about Docklands end

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David Schout

Hundreds of residents and stakeholders have strongly endorsed designs for the eastern “city” section of the City of Melbourne’s flagship Greenline project, but have expressed less certainty about the western “Docklands” end.

Results from the council’s latest engagement process on Greenline, a four-kilometre green trail set run along the Yarra River’s north bank from Birrarung Marr to the Bolte Bridge, revealed a divide between the project’s two ends.

A two-pronged survey that canvassed the thoughts of the general public (residents, workers, visitors) and stakeholders (including business and community groups) revealed a strong endorsement of designs for the CBD portion.

Asked whether they would spend time in the proposed spaces (depicted by designers), more than 80 per cent of the 500-plus public respondents said they were “likely” or “very likely” to visit areas at Birrarung Marr and Batman Park.

Three-quarters of those surveyed also responded positively to the proposed designs for areas at Banana Alley vaults and Sandridge Bridge.

“Batman Park is very tired and bit sketchy now so this couldn’t come soon enough,” one respondent said.

“Sandridge Bridge and Banana Alley currently has a dilapidated urban feel, greening it will be a great improvement,” another added.

This was reiterated in stakeholder responses, with more than half more likely than not to spend time in the three precincts in the eastern half of Greenline (Birrarung Marr, Falls and River Park).

However, those surveyed were less sure about the two precincts at the Docklands end, dubbed Maritime and Salt Water Wharf.

Less than 60 per cent of public respondents said they were likely to spend time in the newly designed spaces directly opposite South Wharf — including space outside Crowne Plaza and the Mission to Seafarers — and further west at North Wharf.

Criticism focused on a lack of greenery and no proposed tree canopy.

“These are the least exciting to me, and I wouldn’t spend much time here. The Crowne Plaza seems a bit sterile with all of those hard edges and lack of canopy and greenery,” one respondent said.

“This is a very harsh environment that does not appeal. More trees and greenery are needed. Plants in rectangular boxes are not as appealing as a natural planting,” another responded.

There was also concern about the lack of proposed economic activation.

“I feel this side of the river is more commercial and less tempting,” one said.

 

Crowne Plaza image reminds me of Docklands, which usually has less people around compared with in the image above - why would people come here? Or how is this connected and convenient to access from other areas?

 

The criticism of the westernmost Greenline precinct was even greater from stakeholders, who stated that the remote location made it tougher to attract visitors compared with the city end.

Councillors were expected to endorse a draft Greenline master plan at the August 15 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.

If approved, Melburnians will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed plans from August 16 to September 13, with feedback informing the final master plan to be released later this year.

“The draft master plan has been informed by extensive community and stakeholder engagement, and we’re continuing the conversation, asking Melburnians for their views on this city-shaping project,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.

Works at Birrarung Marr, which represents the first section of trail, are due to commence this financial year. •

 

Caption: Those surveyed were more positive about Greenline designs at the city end (left, at Birrarung Marr) compared to the Docklands end (right, at North Wharf).

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