“Bigger” North Melbourne pocket park a step closer
A pocket park in North Melbourne is a step closer after draft concept plans were released following community feedback last year.
The City of Melbourne is looking at four options that would transform two existing reserves at Bedford St and Courtney St to create a “bigger and better” pocket park for the community, thanks to funding from the state government’s Suburban Parks Program.
The Bedford St Reserve is an elevated, grassy open space situated between Courtney, Capel and Bedford streets while across the road, the Courtney St Reserve is a smaller triangular green space with young trees.
Under the plans, in which the community is invited to have its say, the Bedford St pocket park would increase the current green space by up to 1500 metre squares with new garden beds, trees, and a lawn.
Facilities would include a barbecue and picnic area, a playground for children of all ages, and a new pedestrian crossing.
A community activity space with a table tennis table is also proposed with other additions including a drinking fountain, a nature/discovery play area, a park seat, a cubby house and more.
The proposed pocket park would improve local area cooling and stormwater retention, as well as slowing local traffic.
However, the council will begin a public notice process to discontinue portions of road that are existing or proposed to become public parkland – which would involve removing a section of the eastern end at Courtney St. Public submissions for this proposal close September 29.
The council’s environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said the proposed park would deliver huge benefits to the whole community.
Cr Leppert said new native plantings, street furniture and play equipment would create a place for “people to gather, exercise and relax” while also increasing the city’s canopy cover which “plays a vital role in maintaining Melbourne’s liveability and helping to combat climate change”.
“We’re working to create more green, open spaces across our city – that’s why we’re exploring opportunities to transform the two reserves into a bigger and better pocket park for everyone in our community to enjoy,” he said.
“We’re now seeking community feedback on our draft concept plan for the Bedford St pocket park, as we look to develop a final concept plan for this space.”
North Melbourne resident and Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne Brendan Gleeson praised the council for the quality of the proposed park’s designs, saying it should be “strongly commended”.
“In an area undergoing significant intensification this will provide valuable new green space and recreational amenities,” he said, adding the new playground and barbecue facilities would greatly widen the park’s usefulness and user community.
“The improvements to the currently neglected Peel St end are particularly well planned. I strongly urge the inclusion of a public toilet in the redesign to ensure the park’s usability and thus effectiveness as a newly inclusive space.”
“The successful recent introduction of a toilet in Gardiner Reserve has demonstrated how such facilities support a wide community use.”
The community can share its thoughts on the draft concept plan by completing an online survey which closes September 29. •
Caption: An artist’s impressions of the proposed Bedford St pocket park.