Moonee Ponds Creek revitalisation projects left without a paddle
A City of Melbourne councillor has called for action on various improvement projects that have stalled for years along Moonee Ponds Creek, noting opportunities to unlock vital community spaces was “just not happening”.
The council’s environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert expressed his frustration over the lack of progress and updates for various projects and initiatives for the creek – most of which were being led by multiple authorities.
The Moonee Ponds Creek runs for 25 kilometres through several established suburbs, such as Kensington, North Melbourne and West Melbourne, and alongside urban renewal areas of Arden, Macaulay, Dynon and the proposed E-Gate site on the edge of the CBD.
According to the City of Melbourne, the creek is central to these urban renewal areas with its future being critical to the future liveability of Melbourne.
But Cr Leppert said progress had been slow on several projects proposed, with many yet to materialise, including the Moonee Ponds Creek Implementation Plan, which he said had gone five years without an update from the state government.
Six of the 10 projects currently earmarked to improve the creek are being led by Development Victoria, the West Gate Tunnel Project, the Victorian Planning Authority, Melbourne Water, and the Commonwealth Government, which included tree reinstatement, open space and drainage infrastructure, and a trail reinstatement to Docklands.
In successfully moving a motion at the council’s December 5 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, Cr Leppert called for a renewed commitment across all levels of government to deliver open space improvements along the creek “that have been identified as essential for the success of urban renewal in Macaulay, Arden and Docklands”.
Cr Leppert said there was a “problem of disjointed governance” and a need to “package together” the various projects proposed along the creek corridor, “and pull them together in an update and a new report towards the beginning of next year (2024)”, adding the projects were “just not happening so we have to try something new”.
Cr Leppert said he welcomed more affordable and social housing to the Arden and Macaulay precincts, which were undergoing significant renewal and would be home to up to 20,000 residents by 2040, but added it was “not the complete picture”.
“The entire basis of planning Macaulay is that we have to unlock the open space along the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor otherwise there will not be the open space that the community requires to maintain their health and the flood mitigation impacts [and] the flood mitigation measures along the creek will not be delivered,” Cr Leppert said at the meeting.
Among the proposals that had been met with silence included a council application requesting to transfer or lease land owned by VicTrack near Macaulay Rd so it could be used as a community open space, but the council had yet to receive a response for four years, Cr Leppert said.
The council’s proposed improvement projects include an active transport bridge plan, a Chelmsford St local park, Macaulay development contributions plan controls (awaiting state government approval), and the VicTrack open space request.
In a statement, the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek welcomed the motion, noting it supported the request to “integrate the multiplicity of issues applicable to plans and projects along the creek”, which would “allow council and community to better understand, advocate for and follow the progress of the projects”.
“The lower Moonee Ponds Creek, which lies within the Melbourne municipality, is complex with multiple landownerships, management, and other responsibilities; multiple government jurisdictions and policies; overarching strategic plans; corporate interests; and overlying transport issues.”
A VicTrack spokesperson said it was “keen to discuss” the City of Melbourne’s plan to lease the land owned by VicTrack along the Moonee Ponds Creek, and “how the land can benefit the community in the future”.
“Essential flood mitigation works must take place on the land to protect neighbouring residents and businesses, and any future uses of the land must take these works into account,” the spokesperson said.
VicTrack said the land remained closed to the public while the flood mitigation measures were addressed.
VicTrack added flood mitigation in the area was managed by Melbourne Water and would be informed by the flood modelling it had developed for Moonee Ponds Creek and the Arden Macaulay Precinct. •