As Melbourne’s population grows, Moonee Ponds Creek has the potential to become an attractive and connected playground for the rapidly growing inner city, as well as a vital flood management and biodiversity asset.
The entire Moonee Ponds Creek runs for 25km from the Local Government area of Hume in the north, through established middle ring suburbs and to the southern reaches within the City of Melbourne. Here it runs through established suburbs of Kensington, North Melbourne and West Melbourne, and alongside urban renewal areas of Arden, Macaulay, Dynon and E-Gate.
The draft Strategic Opportunities Plan includes an overarching vision for the future of this neglected creek, along with six goals and 31 proposed creek improvement opportunities that work to achieve this vision.
Artistic impression of the Macaulay Terrace on a sunny afternoon and during a major rain event.
Before European settlement in 1835, Moonee Ponds Creek was an integral part of the ‘temperate Kakadu’ that was Melbourne.
The Creek – which was a chain of ponds during drier months and a flood plain during heavy rains – was a travel route and water and food source for the Wurundjeri tribe of the Woiwurrung language group. It also fed into a picturesque saltwater lake near to what is now Southern Cross Station.
In the decades after 1835, everything changed.
The Creek’s cultural importance to local Aboriginal people was ignored. The saltwater lake was turned into a tip, then filled in. Meanwhile, for much of the next 150 years, Moonee Ponds Creek was treated as an industrial drain and transport corridor.
The draft Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan highlights the strategic opportunities along the creek between Brunswick Road and Docklands, building on the Chain of Ponds Masterplan developed by Moreland and Moonee Valley Councils to the north.
It will deliver on several Council strategies that have been informed by extensive community engagement over many years, including:
- Open Space Strategy (2012)
- Urban Forest Strategy: Making a Great City Greener (2012-2031)
- Nature in the City Strategy (2017)
- Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan (2012)
The final plan will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders in the Victorian Government, Victorian Planning Authority, other partner agencies and the community.
The City of Melbourne will continue to be an advocate for the transformation of the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor.
The Moonee Ponds Creek corridor has enormous potential but to realise that potential, three major challenges must be turned into opportunities:
- Growth: The lower reach of Moonee Ponds Creek is set to become one of the most intensely developed parts of Greater Melbourne. This growth will be driven by a chain of urban renewal sites that run along the creek, from Arden and Macaulay in the north to Dynon, E-Gate and Docklands in the south.
- Water management: Moonee Ponds Creek has always had a long history of flooding. Modelling indicates that, by 2100, flooding risks will significantly increase along Moonee Ponds Creek. This is due predominantly to increasing runoff from urban densification and more extreme rainfall events and rising sea levels due to climate change.
- Governance: The City of Melbourne does not own or manage the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor. The majority of the creek corridor – together with the Arden, E-gate and Dynon urban renewal areas it bisects– are owned and managed by various agencies and departments of the Victorian Government, for a variety of different purposes. Consequently, the governance and management of the Creek corridor is complex.
Read the draft Plan and Background Report
Draft Opportunities Plan
Six themes must be achieved to transform Moonee Ponds Creek.
- Water Management: Ensure that the creek copes with increased flooding risk caused by urban densification as well as climate change-induced sea level rises and more frequent extreme weather events.
- Open Space: Create a diverse network of open spaces large and numerous enough to cater to a rapidly-growing population.
- Biodiversity: Revitalise the creek so that it becomes a rich corridor of biodiversity and a thriving habitat for native flora and fauna.
- Movement: Create safe, accessible paths that connect pedestrians and cyclists to local communities and facilities on either side of the Creek, as well as the Central City.
- History and Culture: Ensure that the revitalised creek corridor celebrates and connects to its Aboriginal heritage and local history, and provides new spaces for creativity and public art.
- Collaborative Governance: Advocate for transformational change and continue to work with Councils, Authorities and the community to take an integrated catchment management approach.
The strategic opportunities proposed to improve the creek corridor and achieve the vision are identified over three maps. Some are focussed on specific opportunities at points along the waterway, while others are in multiple locations or intended for the whole corridor.
To achieve the strategic vision, the creek is divided into three areas:
1. North: The Collector
From Brunswick Road to Racecourse Road. What is now a concrete stormwater drain will be remediated –becoming a focal point for the local community and biodiversity.
2. Central: The Urban Connector
From Racecourse Road to Dynon Road. What is now an industrial area will become an area for mixed-use development. The area needs to be revitalised so it connects and supports the growing communities east and west of the Creek.
3. South: The Tidal Underpass
From Dynon Road to the Yarra. What is now an inaccessible, infrastructure dominated area will become a significant source of public open space in the City of Melbourne, with regionally significant benefits as well as benefits for local communities and the local environment.