8 December 2013

A new park for Kensington is one step closer, with Council agreeing to a series of Greens motions to make the securing of new public open space in the area a priority.

Concept plan for new Kensington Park

For many months, Melbourne City Council has been exploring opportunities for new open space in and around the Arden Macaulay area (the declared urban renewal zone bridging Kensington and North Melbourne). The Arden Macaulay area and much of Kensington is identified in Council’s Open Space strategy as being of greatest need for new public open space (along with areas like West Melbourne and Southbank), and that is before the expected population boom in Arden Macaulay is taken into consideration.

The debate is occurring alongside the determination of the State Government to build the East West Link, which threatens to destroy much of Kensington’s existing open space along the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor – an area which Council wishes to improve and return to community use, but which could easily become urban blight should the ‘Stage 1 B’ elevated freeway remain in the State Government’s sights.

The search for new open space began with Council adopting the Open Space Strategy and Arden Macaulay Structure Plan, but was prioritised in June when Council agreed to a Greens motion to purchase “first available land” in the area.

Officer reports since June have reported the difficulties of negotiating the acquisition of new open space through property acquisition, but further successful Greens motions have maintained the political momentum required to find a new park in the near future.

As reported by The Age back in September, Council agreed to motion by Greens Cr Rohan Leppert to investigate converting parts of the Eastwood Street and Rankins Rd intersection immediately adjacent to Kensington Station into an expanded park.

The report which came back to Council last Tuesday as a result of this ‘investigation’ commissioned by the Greens motion recognises that the proposed park adjacent to Kensington Station would cost less than a quarter of an equivalent size park being secured through acquiring freehold land, and traffic modelling suggests that there will be no adverse parking or traffic consequences.

From here, Kensington residents and the broader community will be consulted on the detailed concept plan which has now been drawn up (see drawing above; more details in the Council report – PDF 5.5mb).

What do you think of this option?  The community consultation process proper will occur in February 2014, but you can contact your Greens Councillors at any time.