Nillumbik Shire Council has announced plans to revitalise the locally known ‘gateway’ into Eltham where the city meets the bush.
Council says the plan will be driven locally with support from local and state government.
It will work in partnership with Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV), Eltham MP, Vicki Ward and community organisation, Southern Gateway Renewal Group, to bring the Eltham Gateway Project to life.
Nillumbik Mayor, Frances Eyre said the project was a great example of community and government collaboration.
“This is a unique opportunity to create a beautiful, welcoming and iconic entry to Eltham and the Shire,” Mayor Eyre said.
“It’s the result of passionate advocacy by our community, led by the Southern Gateway Renewal Group, and Council, and I would like to thank Vicki Ward and MRPV for being so receptive and supportive of this concept.”
The project will focus on rehabilitating and enhancing green spaces on both sides of Main Road, between Falkiner Street and the Diamond Creek bridge, recreating a new gateway following a recent upgrade of the Fitzsimons Lane intersection.
The Mayor said the aim of the work is to create a “sense of arrival” into Eltham and the Green Wedge Shire of Nillumbik, while reclaiming underused roadside areas as public open space. Works will involve landscaping and revegetation with indigenous species, a new public artwork, as well as pathways and seating.
Nillumbik Councillor, Geoff Paine said the project would result in a distinctive and welcoming local feature for Eltham.
“We hope that together we will create something that conveys the character, the openness and the creativity of the area – and indeed the whole Shire,” Cr Paine said.
Denis Johnston, from Southern Gateway Renewal Group said: “Our group has transitioned from our spirited advocacy for a simpler traffic solution at the Fitzsimons Lane roundabout to initiating and now advocating for a community driven concept for a new gateway.”
“We encourage the community to bring forward their ideas to create a gateway that we will be proud to come home to.”
A draft conceptual master plan for the project has gone on public exhibition, giving the local community the chance to provide feedback.
“This is an important community project that has been led by the community partnering with Government, MRPV and Nillumbik. It’s a fantastic opportunity to rehabilitate our green spaces and enhance Eltham’s southern gateway,” said Member for Eltham, Vicki Ward.
“The intersection upgrade at Fitzsimons Lane is working well and this nearby project is an important legacy that the community can enjoy.”
Major Road Projects Victoria Program Director, Dipal Sorathia said he looked forward to hearing how the community envisaged the project.
“We’re excited to hear how the community would like to see this green space come to life as part of the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade project, and will develop the space in close collaboration with Nillumbik Shire Council and local community members,” Mr Sorathia said.
Work on the project is expected to begin later this year. The first stage will be jointly funded by Nillumbik Shire Council and MRPV, and is anticipated to be completed in early 2023. Other stages will be completed as further funding becomes available, Council said in a statement.