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Transformation takes shape at Southbank Promenade 

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Brendan Rees

The first stage of the Southbank Promenade upgrade near Princes Bridge has been completed with Lord Mayor Sally Cappy celebrating the improvements just in time for summer. 

The revitalised area features a wider promenade space for residents, visitors and business owners, together with reconfigured stairs and a new ramp between promenade levels, fresh bluestone paving and wall cladding, new native trees, upgraded lighting, and new seating.

Stage two, which covers the area east of Evan Walker Bridge, has been paused to allow a busy summer of trading for hospitality venues, with works set to restart in April 2023 and be finished by July 2023. 

“Once complete, a 300-metre stretch of Southbank Promenade will be transformed with new trees and expanded space for pedestrians and cyclists,” Cr Capp said.

The Lord Mayor said the council anticipated that there would be a “swarm of summer activity along the promenade” with the latest council data showing pedestrian traffic had soared past pre-COVID levels.

“In November, night-time pedestrian activity in Southbank was at 153 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with activity surging as high as 240 per cent of the 2019 benchmark on weekends,” she said. 

The $3.8 million transformation was originally to begin with early works in late 2021 but was delayed to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, before works eventually kicked off in April 2022. 

 

The upgrade is being funded via the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund – a partnership between the City of Melbourne and the state government.  

 

Stage two will involve new paving, replacing balustrades, constructing a garden bed and bluestone seating, and planting two palm trees. 

Temporary fencing will be installed in April and remain in place until works conclude.

The relocation of the Dervish sculpture to the Hamer Hall balcony had been delayed to reduce disruption on outdoor trading in the area, and to allow the council to finalise permits and coordinate the relocation works with nearby developments, the council said. •

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