New park coming to Southbank with funding locked in
A $1.5 million park is set to be created near the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), after the state government committed to funding the project in August.
The site at the forecourt of ACCA, which is described as a “desolate wasteland of granitic sand” at the corner of Grant and Sturt streets – and a hotspot for reckless hoons in recent months – will be transformed into a new green space, with construction expected to begin early next year.
State MP for Albert Park Nina Taylor confirmed the funding investment for the design and delivery of a green space, which spans more than a hectare, after the proposal was made in a commitment at last year’s state election.
Ms Taylor joined residents and the City of Melbourne’s Deputy Lord Mayor Nick Reece in celebrating the news at the ACCA site on August 8, with the new greenery anticipated to bring a vibrant addition to the Southbank neighbourhood.
The project will be undertaken in partnership with City of Melbourne, Creative Victoria and ACCA, in what will “provide locals with somewhere to connect with nature and their community”.
“Today is just the first step in delivering what will be a fantastic open space for Southbank locals to enjoy,” Ms Taylor said.
“This truly will create an immersive and connected space but also a beautiful green public open space for locals and visitors alike.”
Cr Reece expressed his enthusiasm for the project, saying “it’s going to be the most fabulous precinct”.
This is a wonderful day for Southbank. This is a day in which we see this granitic sand wasteland converted into beautiful green space for people of Southbank.
Community group Southbank3006 president David Hamilton, whose members have been campaigning for the park since June last year, warmly welcomed the funding news, saying the new park would enhance the landscape.
“It starts to bookend the Arts Precinct,” he said, which included ACCA and the future The Fox: NGV Contemporary building.
“It’s a really vital point to be brought to life. It integrates with the arts community as well, which has become a far more important part of Southbank in bringing people together, and places for families and communities to grow.”
“I just think it’s fantastic to see council listen, government listen, and make something happen in this area.”
Southbank Residents’ Association president Tony Penna said it was a “delight” that funding had been invested into the new park.
“This site is rarely used by our local population owing to its current dusty, uninviting, texture. Southbank is short of green spaces and this transformation will be well received,” he said.
Cr Reece said the council would work with the community to finalise the design, which he expected to begin “as soon as possible”.
It would include working around “some constraints” such as the Burnley Tunnel that was situated below the site and owned by toll giant Transurban, which was contacted for comment.
“It may not be ideal for deep soil plantings but there are many clever things that we will be able to do through landscaping and other greening techniques to make this space an area a magnet for people,” Cr Reece said.
The Deputy Lord Mayor said the new park would complement new urban gardens in the surrounding area, including the current construction of a new linear park on Dodds St, and future works to be delivered as part of the Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation.
“When you put it all together it’s going to add so much to Southbank and help deliver a final piece of the puzzle to make Southbank a great suburb and a liveable suburb.”
ACCA’s CEO artistic director Max Delaney said he was thrilled by the news.
“We are excited to continue to work with the City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria on creating a welcoming space on the ACCA forecourt, where our visitors and the community can come together for relaxation, connection and to enjoy cultural activities and events”.
The park is being created as part of the government’s $7.4 million Better Parks and Playgrounds program. •
Caption: Celebrating the news of a new park is Albert Park MP Nina Taylor, City Melbourne’s Deputy Lord Mayor Nick Reece, and residents David Hamilton, Trisha Avery, and James Avery. Photo: Anna Komissarova.