Plans for an extensive new park in Melbourne’s east are progressing, with tenders now sought for design work to bring the project to life.
The Victorian Government has set asides $10.5 million to establish the 35-hectare park on the site of former Healesville Freeway reserve that extends for 3.5 kilometres from Springvale Road in Forest Hill to Boronia Road in Vermont.
A community reference group of 30 local people is guiding development of plans for the park, alongside a public consultation period to be will be held mid-year.
A key feature of the new park will be a shared walking and cycling trail, with other elements such as paths and connections, toilets, car parking, active spaces and links with community and volunteer groups to be explored.
Recognising the park’s location on the Traditional Lands of the Wurundjeri people, it will be named by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
Protecting the area’s Aboriginal cultural heritage and environmental values is key focus for planning and design of the park. Preliminary cultural and environmental assessments will be strengthened by further studies over the next 12 months to ensure the new park is sensitively established and managed into the future.
Elsewhere, the Victorian Government is also creating more than 6500 hectares of new and upgraded parks and trails across greater Melbourne through the $154 million Suburban Parks Program. Twenty-one urban parks are also being upgraded via the $21 million Urban Parks Active Wellbeing program to continue to support healthy communities.
A draft park plan for the freeway reserve is expected to be released for community feedback in mid-2022, with designs finalised by the end of the year. Subject to assessments and on-ground conditions, works on the new park are expected to commence in early 2023.
Information about community engagement opportunities will be available on the Engage Victoria website, while more information about the project is available at www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“The Victorian Government is delivering fantastic opportunities and new facilities for growing communities across Melbourne and it’s great to see the Healesville Freeway Reserve project progress.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane MP
“I’m delighted to see the steady progress on this new park for our community in eastern Melbourne that will create new opportunities for people to get active in nature.”
“Parks Victoria will continue to work with Wurundjeri Traditional Owners and community members to ensure the new park is protected and enjoyed for future generations.”