In each edition of Council Magazine we choose one local government from across Australia to shine a spotlight on. This edition, we focus on the City of Melbourne and its Greenline Project, a globally-significant riverfront development, which is set to inject $1 billion into Melbourne’s economy, as early works begin on a transformation of the Yarra River – Birrarung.
The City of Melbourne’s Greenline Project will create 4km of interconnected promenades, parks, open spaces, native plantings, cultural activations and environmental renewal between Birrarung Marr and the Bolte Bridge. It will be Melbourne’s largest green space and will have a strong focus on Traditional Owner culture and heritage.
City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said the transformation of the river’s north bank would have an unequivocally positive impact on the city. “The Yarra River – Birrarung is one of Melbourne’s most culturally and environmentally significant landmarks, and we’re working with our community to ensure it continues to be a place for all people,” Lord Mayor Capp said.
Transforming the riverfront
The project will be guided by a Master Plan, developed by a group of design consultants led by Aspect Studios and TCL, which will be finalised and released later this year following a recent consultation phase. “In partnership with award-winning landscape architecture and design experts, we’ve crafted an incredible vision for what the Greenline Project could look like – with stunning boardwalks, event spaces, native vegetation, and outdoor dining,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“The Greenline Project will transform the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung into a globally-significant community space – securing thousands of jobs, attracting waves of new visitors, injecting millions of dollars into our economy, and delivering biodiversity and wellbeing legacies for Melbourne.”
The transformation is expected to create more than 3,400 jobs during construction, more than 6,400 ongoing jobs by 2042, and attract more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the city every year. For every $1 invested, the project will return $3.29 in value to the community.
A world-class attraction
The draft Master Plan details the vision and design for five interconnected precincts – featuring lush waterfront destination, spaces for events and community gathering, picturesque new boardwalks, 6m-wide promenades, new native habitats and cultural activations.
Council’s City Transport, Infrastructure and Operations portfolio deputy lead, Councillor Davydd Griffiths, said the Greenline Project would be a chance to deliver a stunning waterfront together with major economic benefits.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a worldclass river precinct in the heart of Melbourne which will attract more visitors and investment to our city,” Cr Griffiths said. “Our draft Master Plan design focuses on environment, culture, place and connection – mapping out an exciting project that will deliver significant benefits for Melbourne’s long-term future.”
Design ideas for each precinct include:
Birrarung Marr precinct (Birrarung Marr, federation vaults, flinders walk)
- Cultural event and performance spaces to celebrate Melbourne’s Aboriginal history and multiculturalism
- An expanded riverside promenade, with greater views of the river and Southbank that will boost visitation
- Terraced steps for enhanced riverside public space and dining experiences
- New pathways to connect the CBD to the sports and entertainment precinct
- Australian native plantings at the river’s edge to promote improved river health and biodiversity
The falls precinct (Sandridge Bridge, Banana Alley vaults, turning Basin, enterprize park)
- New public open space around the Sandridge Bridge to promote health and wellbeing
- An ecological river’s edge and floating pontoons that will focus on native plantings and sustainability
- Upgrades to Enterprize Park and new habitats for local wildlife
- Enhanced connections with the river and habitat creation at Banana Alley promenade
River park precinct (batman park)
- Generous open space and lawns for play, exercise, social activities and cultural events to encourage community gatherings and wellbeing
- A new accessible play space with nearby cafés
- Riverside areas to encourage water-based uses including fishing and boating
- New activities space under the Flinders Street viaduct
- Large ecology site, habitat creation and significant indigenous botanical garden
Maritime precinct (Crowne Plaza, seafarers river frontage)
- New riverside promenade at Crown Plaza to facilitate new public spaces and waterside dining experiences that will attract ongoing tourism and visitation
- Increased public space, including small-scale decks over the river
- Improved boating access and amenities
- Educational installations and play-based learning activities to encourage exploration of maritime history that will provide a valuable learning resource for our community
Saltwater Wharf precinct (Collins Wharf Park, Collins Street and North Wharf road river frontage)
- New parkland with an ecological focus at North Wharf, highlighting sustainability in the city
- Improved boating and fishing access and amenities, contributing to a growing and vibrant commercial precinct
- Raised waterfront platforms and increased public space and promenades
- New boardwalks and seating to attract more riverside recreation with potential for a new river punt to Fishermans Bend and New Quay
The draft Master Plan has been informed by extensive stakeholder and community consultation – including surveys, pop-ups, workshops and walking tours of the site. Meanwhile, early works to develop this first site of the Greenline Project will begin later this year, with a contractor appointed to deliver the first stage. Symal Infrastructure will work with the City of Melbourne to complete Site 1 of the Birrarung Marr precinct, kick-starting the city-shaping development of the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung.
The leading contracting business has a strong track record across a range of major infrastructure, landscaping, streetscape, bridge and water projects. Site 1 will form part of the Birrarung Marr precinct, transforming the river’s edge from Batman Avenue to the eastern edge of Federation Square at ArtPlay – with 450m of new boardwalks, viewpoints and thriving green spaces for play and recreation.
Lord Mayor Capp said the works would pave the way forward for the entire Greenline Project. “Birrarung Marr will be the stunning entry point to the Greenline Project – delivering a sublime riverfront experience with lush green spaces to bring people together,” Lord Mayor Capp said.
“These works will set the tone for the project – creating a beautiful entry point to the Greenline Project where you can listen out for wildlife, take in expanded views along the river and immerse yourself in Melbourne’s cultural heritage and buzzing arts scene.” This stage of works will create three contemporary spaces with the Birrarung Marr precinct:
- The River Edge – the entrance to the Greenline Project, providing extensive pathways, new habitat for wildlife and lush green areas for play and recreation
- The Lookout – an important place for Wurundjeri Woiwurrung cultural celebrations, featuring an enhanced lookout along the river, additional seating and new plantings
- The Fig Tree Boardwalk – creating a peaceful, shaded space for art, storytelling and nature with a suspended tree-lined platform and new seating
Cr Griffiths said beginning this first section was a significant milestone in the delivery of the city-shaping project. “Revitalising the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung starts here, and in years to come we can expect more than a million more visitors will enjoy new connected parks, cultural activities and riverfront dining spaces,” Cr Griffiths said.
Detailed design and early investigative works for Site 1 are expected to begin later this year, with major construction to follow in 2024.
Two additional sites will complete the Birrarung Marr precinct at later stages of the Greenline Project. The design for Site 1 is based on the precinct’s concept plan, which was developed in consultation with the community last year.