An idea for a park of significance in the heart of Brunswick

Tony Blackmore - 9029 0694 - 05/01/2012

Consider the narrow strip from Park Street to Moreland Station containing the railway and the Upfield cycle track. On the east side it is bounded by the cycle track, with low grade paving and shabby fencing. The west has unkempt weed areas and untidy car parks.

The outer boundaries of the area are mostly industrial walls and fences, aging residential side fences and an increasing number of residential buildings.

There is a poorly maintained park adjoining the Jewel station, a few trees at Brunswick and Anstey stations and a better maintained but an uninspiring park at Moreland station.

Along the strip there are places and objects of local and railway historical interest slowly rotting away, and many areas of apparently abandoned land that can be rehabilitated. Much of the railway easement is unused.

The idea

Assume the Moreland City and the railway easement authority (Dept of Transport?) will cooperate in a plan to convert the strip into an attractive linear park that will reflect well on both organisations.

Imagine this strip was given a thorough design work-over by creative people. All relevant bits to be incorporated into a linear park with aesthetically pleasing paving, fencing, lighting, planting and historical signage so that it becomes a coherent “whole”.

Aiming high will result in a park of national significance showing how an unattractive industrial and transport strip can become an enjoyable community asset.

At this stage there is no good cost estimate other than it will be low $millions, but it will be millions that conform to the aims of Moreland City budgeting aspirations.

Attachment B from that report shows many key objectives that would be met by a well designed linear park.

The Moreland City Council Adopted Budget – 2011/2012 is for an expenditure of almost $100,000,000 for the period. The notion of “millions” for the park over a few years along with the potential for financial support from federal and state sources if the aim is truly innovative and significant is reasonable.

A crude start can be based on estimates for the supply and installation of 5 km of high grade fence ($200,000 to supply and $300,000 to supply and install weldmesh, the kind of fence used for the pedestrian gates at crossings.), 4 km of upgraded paving, 4 km of improved lighting and the supply and planting of plants, etc.

The bike track will be widened and made properly dual use, with separate pedestrian lanes where possible, fencing will be toddler proof, aesthetically pleasing and with improved and stylish lighting.

Areas at present unused will become plantations with many large trees, at least a hundred medium sized trees, many hundreds of shrubs and thousands of square metres of ground cover. Tree plantings will conceal unattractive boundaries and simultaneously provide resting and meeting places for pedestrians and homes for wildlife.

Car parks will be properly defined, paved and incorporated into planted areas.

The park can be an important canvas for displaying local history. There are the many bits of railway history – signals, signal boxes, unused turn off tracks, old buffers etc. - but also old buildings and new ones on old sites that can be identified. (There are buildings in Richmond with quality signs pointing out their history and paid for with Federal money.)

Attachment A shows Google Earth views of each section of the strip with notes to support the assertions above.

Attachment A