Urban forests bring residents pleasure
The City of Melbourne has unveiled six green spaces which are thriving after receiving matched funding via the Habitat Grants under the Urban Forest Fund 2020 program.
The grants scheme saw up to $5000 of matched funding for residential owners’ corporations (OCs) to create green spaces on privately-owned, residential properties.
The six gardens are located across the municipality, including at a unit complex at 78 The Avenue in Parkville where a new sustainable garden was created just before lockdown last year.
Rosemary Livingstone, chair of the OC at 78 The Avenue, said the new sustainable garden was “gorgeous”, and had improved the liveability of the complex.
“The pleasure that it’s bringing to the people – both the residents and passers-by – is really important,” she said.
The Habitat Grants were a part of the council’s Urban Forest Fund 2020, which saw the council supporting greening projects in a bid to accelerate the creation or enhancement of green space in the municipality.
The Habitat Grant saw the council partner with residential OCs for greening projects in common property areas.
The grant could be used for soil improvement works, plants and trees and irrigation, as well as project planning and labour as long as the cost of this was not more than 25 per cent of the project’s total cost.
Eligibility criteria for the grant included the requirement for applicants to show that their project would deliver more overall green cover than had existed previously, as well as using only “in-ground planting”, have a maintenance plan and include some plant species which were indigenous to the local area.
The council’s environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said, “These projects maximise green space for people and wildlife on residential properties, and I look forward to seeing these green spaces thrive.”
Cr Leppert said that although the council was committed to 3000 plantings a year on public land, a significant portion of land in the municipality was privately owned.
For the greening projects which received the funding, there were several different points of focus.
One project at Altona St in Kensington focused on helping create a wildlife corridor between JJ Holland Park and Warun Biik Linear Reserve. The historic fire station complex at 100-110 Curzon St, North Melbourne had funding awarded for Phase one of their greening project to help see the replacement of contaminated soil and the existing lawn and
One of the aims for this project was to have 60 per cent local indigenous plants in the garden beds.
For 78 The Avenue, Parkville, its west-facing orientation meant that heat had to be considered, as well as sustainability and ease of maintenance.
Its design focuses on sustainability in a warming climate, with more tree cover, native plants, and sections of lawn now a habitat for lizards and insects with rocks, logs and grasses.
The main part of the garden was completed in March last year, just before the first COVID lockdown came into effect, with the final element – the water tanks – installed just last January.
Ms Livingstone said the residents loved having the new garden.
“The interest of the residents and the tenants was terrific. It really brought a sense of community, she said.