Monday, June 24, 2024

Melbourne council’s grand plans for greener city

The City of Melbourne will invest more than $60 million to expand public open space, and maintain parks and water management as part of its draft Budget for 2021-22.

Lord Mayor, Sally Capp said investing in parks, gardens and open spaces would create jobs now and help to build a better community into the future.

“We have set aside $20 million for green space in Southbank because we’ve listened to the community and we know how critical it is in our most densely populated suburb,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’ve also just completed a two year upgrade to one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the conservatory at Fitzroy Gardens. The $800,000 upgrade has delivered 100 jobs and the conservatory will re-open next month with a tropical flower display.”

The Lord Mayor said there has been a huge increase in visitors to city parks, as people reconnect and gather outside after months of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“During the pandemic, we saw many more Melburnians rolling out their picnic blankets in our world-class parks and gardens. I hope people will continue to take advantage of our lush lawns and recreational facilities as the buzz comes back to our city,” the Lord Mayor said.

Environment portfolio lead, Councillor Rohan Leppert said the City of Melbourne was investing heavily in new open space as well as taking care of our prized parks and gardens.

“Over the coming year we will invest $27.5 million to keep our 480 hectares of parks and gardens flourishing, from Royal Park to Birrarung Marr,” Cr Leppert said.

“As well as the $20 million Southbank Open Space reserve, we are publishing detailed capital works forward estimates for the first time. We’re allocating $10 million for urban renewal area open space expansion in each of the next four years, showing our appetite to acquire land or improve existing land for public open space in places like Macaulay,” Cr Leppert said.

“We’re showing that we can deliver Greenline – the City’s flagship open space project – on top of our open space commitments for new local and neighbourhood parks in our urban renewal areas,” he said.

The draft Budget 2021–22 includes $1.7 million for the annual tree planting program, which has planted than 30,000 trees across the municipality since 2012.

“Up to 10 jobs will be created planting a variety of trees until September. Our expert green thumbs will roll up their sleeves to deliver a more sustainable Melbourne,” Cr Leppert said.

This year’s planting program includes:

  • 40 trees along Southbank Boulevard;
  • 14 large elms along Hotham Walk in Fitzroy Gardens;
  • 13 sweet gums on Exhibition Street as part of bike lane upgrades;
  • 11 new hackberry trees on Leveson Street in North Melbourne.

Cr Leppert said the city was planning to deliver another innovative sustainability project using renewable energy and batteries.

“There will be $300,000 included in the Budget to deliver a pilot program to store renewable energy on a Council-owned site,” Cr Leppert said.

“We are immensely proud to be the first Australian capital city council powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, through our leadership on the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project,” Cr Leppert said.

“Every light on our streets, every treadmill in our gyms and every barbecue in our parks is powered by renewable energy.”

“We’re now looking at the feasibility of rolling battery storage sites out across the municipality, which could reduce the strain on our electricity distribution network and ultimately lower electricity costs for ratepayers.”

A further $8 million will be invested to conserve stormwater and mitigate flooding.

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