Last year we asked how we might make the West Melbourne neighbourhood the best it could be. From the West Melbourne contributions received, these West Melbourne draft community priorities were developed.

  • Aboriginal Melbourne

    For the Wurundjeri, Bunurong, Taungurung, Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin, the place now known as Melbourne has always been an important meeting place and location for events of political, cultural, social and educational significance. We will ensure that the Traditional Owners’ culture, lore, knowledge, and heritage enrich the city’s growth and development.

Embrace the wisdom of Aboriginal Traditional Owners to enrich our shared experience of place.

What you told us

We heard you want better acknowledgement of Bunurong and Wurundjeri Traditional Owners and other First Nations’ relationships with the lands, waterways and storylines of this neighbourhood.

You suggest this process could begin by partnering with Elders in decision-making, greater use of Boon Wurrung (Bunurong) Woi Wurrung (Wurundjeri) language in place names and signage, as well as local storytelling, murals and interactive displays.

“It would be great to see more Aboriginal culture embedded in our community and daily life - maybe more murals? Libraries could have galleries and exhibitions.”

“Aboriginal Melbourne is a top priority because Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Ensure a First Nations voice in all council decisions and representation within council”.

“Youth focussed event for Aboriginal Melbourne. Local Elders connecting with young people. Aboriginal names for things/used to identify.”

What we’re doing

Our 2018 West Melbourne Structure Plan embeds Caring for Country principles in the design and management of future public green spaces and supports the Aboriginal naming of streets, parks, public buildings and community infrastructure. It recognises that there is a need for a dedicated Aboriginal Economic Hub within the city, and that consideration could be given to providing this within West Melbourne.

In 2020, we engaged Traditional Owners and Custodians to document a North and West Melbourne Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment. This document serves as a reference for Council when looking to pre- and post-colonial settlement histories of the area.

At this year’s narrm ngarrgu | Melbourne Knowledge Week we launched Mapping Aboriginal Melbourne a spatial mapping tool highlighting places and events of Aboriginal cultural significance within the city. An interactive map is located in Town Hall Commons and available in desktop and mobile versions. This educational resource has been developed with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and supports Council in placemaking and signage.

Through this, we will continue to document places of Aboriginal cultural significance that can be searched by place, date or theme. This complements our Aboriginal Engagement Protocol and 2021 –23 (innovate) Reconciliation Action Plan.

We host the YIRRAMBOI Festival every second year, providing opportunities for Aboriginal artists to present their continuous and diverse contemporary practices.

  • Access and affordability

    We will reduce economic and social inequality by ensuring universal access to housing, core services and information.

Encourage access to more local schooling, wellbeing initiatives, and entertainment facilities for children and teenagers.

What you told us

You’d like to see West Melbourne become a more family-friendly neighbourhood, with local services and age-appropriate entertainment for young children and teenagers to enjoy.

You also told us that you miss having a public primary school within the neighbourhood, and that the current school zoning is problematic.

Better community infrastructure in place to keep up with the changing demographics."

“There is no primary school. West Melbourne children are zoned for the primary school in Docklands and the commute there is unsafe and unpleasant...The air pollution is awful. Compulsory speed limits outside schools are not observed or enforced. The walk the full length of Dudley Street to the school is cluttered with litter.”

“There used to be a small skatepark thing under the bridge at Dynon Road, but its currently closed because of some construction works. It would be cool to make a small, well designed skatepark under the bridge. It would bring a lot of culture to the area....”

“More active spaces with play equipment and nature play for kids and activity/gym equipment for adults.”

What we’re doing

Our 2018 West Melbourne Structure Plan identifies the need to work with the Department of Education and Training to consider the long-term potential for a State primary school in the neighbourhood. The Plan also identifies the need to ensure direct, safe and well-designed walking and cycling routes between West Melbourne and schools in surrounding neighbourhoods.

In 2022, we consulted with families and school leadership at Docklands Primary and are working closely with the Victorian Department of Transport to plan for significant pedestrian and cycle upgrades to Footscray Road and pedestrian improvements to Dudley Road, and the associated intersection.

The West Melbourne Baptist Community Centre on Miller Street offers low-cost secular playgroups for the community on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

Improve West Melbourne links to neighbouring suburbs through new or improved tram, walking and bicycle routes.

What you told us

You believe the transport experience for locals and those travelling in and out of West Melbourne could be improved, and that enhanced connectivity is crucial for residents and businesses to access nearby work, school and amenities.

You have many practical ideas that you’d like us to explore, especially the extension of tram lines and active transport links with Docklands.

“The connection between the city and West Melbourne, as well as on the other side - Docklands and Melbourne, is not very pedestrian friendly. Definitely feels like cars and trucks are being given heavy priority. Lots of waiting at unfriendly pedestrian crossings, especially on the way to Docklands. Not a good flow between different parts.”

“Tram network. I feel the tram should run along Dudley street to Docklands and Spencer Street should have a tram that would go up to North Melbourne train station.”

“Bike path to Dockland (Dudley Street) and Bike/pedestrian to Docklands (North Melbourne train station) are a top priority.”

What we’re doing

Our 2018 West Melbourne Structure Plan recommends improving transport connections and pedestrian access, including working with State Government to explore the feasibility of walking and cycling bridges between West Melbourne and Docklands as well as upgrading and expanding the cycling network.

The 2021 Arden Structure Plan commits to exploring a more direct and convenient tram and/or bus link between North Melbourne Train Station and the future Arden metro station.

Negotiate public areas where both animals and humans can exercise and socialise safely.

What you told us

You believe pets are important members of our growing community and that dogs need more dedicated green spaces to run around without a leash. You’d like to see these spaces fenced and well maintained, for the safety of dogs as well as other park users.

You’d also like to see pet ownership education provided and opportunities to build social interactions between local pet owners.

“Providing education to owners. Providing training schools for responsible pet owners.”

“More fenced off-leash areas so that dog can exercise and socialise. They can be away from the general public, children and dogs/owners who do not want unleashed dogs near them. Being able to exercise dogs properly and socialise them will reduce any nuisance barking and deal with dog waste issues.”

“What I like most about West Melbourne is the community of dog owners at Flagstaff Gardens after work.”

What we’re doing

City of Melbourne manages Stawell Street Park, a partially fenced off-leash dog walking area in West Melbourne.

As part of our Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017–21 we are reviewing available off-leash areas across the municipality, making sure dogs and their owners are considered in planning for future public open space.

In late 2021, we asked park users about proposals for new off-leash spaces.  In June 2022, the proposal for a section of Eades Place Park to become off-leash has been forwarded for Victorian Government gazettal. We will let you know when these changes come into effect.

Our Animal Management Officers, Park Rangers and Local Laws Officers patrol public areas and parks to ensure compliance with leashing, picking up after dogs and animal registration.

What we’re doing next

We continue to update our online map of dog walking areas as more become available.

  • Climate and biodiversity emergency

    We will prioritise our environment and take urgent action to reduce emissions and waste in order to protect public health, strengthen the economy and create a city that mitigates and adapts to climate change. The City of Melbourne declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2019.

Invest in more natural spaces for the public to enjoy and encourage street gardens, compost facilities and shared energy storage.

What you told us

You told us that the greening of West Melbourne is vital to the wellbeing of the planet and to the local community. You want to see more government and developer investment dedicated towards natural spaces that the public can enjoy, as well as construction standards that include sustainability requirements.

You see opportunities to reclaim underutilised road space and industrial lots for tree planting and new parkland. You’ve also suggested that residents, especially those living in apartment buildings, need collective solutions to help live more sustainably.

You’re interested in Street Gardens, Community Gardens, compost facilities, solar energy storage and electric vehicle charging stations.

“I think providing more bike paths and green spaces would benefit the environment of West Melbourne as well as people’s mental health.”

“More greening to make the under-utilised streets a more active space for residents living in apartments and without yards. Curbside electric vehicle charging policy implemented to support residents without off street parking. More rooftop solar installed.”

“Would be excellent if we could introduce kerbside soft plastic recycling.”

“Do a massive council awareness campaign on how communities can plant natives in nature strips outside their houses and do give away of native plants.... Most people just don't know what the rules are, make it simple, send out seed packets and make it a fun "for the whole family" initiative. Imagine if every neighbour got into this, what it would do for community spirit and what it would do for biodiversity.”

What we’re doing

West Melbourne enjoys more than 148,138 m2 of public green space. The City of Melbourne manages and maintains 14 of these parks, including the Heritage listed Flagstaff Gardens, and Hawke and King Street Reserve.

Sitting underneath our municipal Urban Forest Strategy, is the North and West Melbourne Urban Forest Precinct Plan, which sets out landscaping principles and tree canopy targets. It identifies specific greening opportunities in the Market/Flagstaff North Precinct, Flagstaff West Precinct, West Warehouse Precinct, Dynon Growth area, West Melbourne Port Precinct and E-gate Precinct.

In 2021-22, we consulted with residents and the business community about plans to transform Hawke Street into a green boulevard for recreation.

The Moonee Ponds Creek Strategic Opportunities Plan sets out a vision to revitilise the creek with a chain of park and wetlands. While the City does not control the creek corridor, we are advocating for improvements across the West Melbourne section of the Creek, which runs from Dynon Road to Footscray Road. These include dedicated cycle connections, redesign of pipe and transport bridges, as well as the creation of ecological wetlands for research, storm water cleansing and forming of tidal barriers.

We are looking at ways to promote urban food growing settings and our Power Melbourne shared solar battery scheme will allow residents, including apartment dwellers to connect with a neighbourhood energy network.  

  • Economy of the future

    We will focus on driving economic recovery and creating the conditions for a strong, adaptive, sustainable and thriving future city economy supported by a diverse mix of industries and jobs that provide dignity and opportunity.

Foster a vibrant retail, hospitality and services precinct within the neighbourhood.

What you told us

You said you’d like to see West Melbourne develop more local retail and hospitality offerings, where important amenities like banks, a post office, a library and a supermarket are available within walking distance.

You’ve suggested we could encourage and support local investment and development opportunities in the area to attract small start-up businesses for example.

“Enable small businesses to grow ideas here. Invest in a local ‘knowledge economy’, with IT start ups and tech innovation through venture capital schemes.”

“There are many new apartment buildings going in [close to the Train Station] but there aren't many restaurants/small bars at all around, so to do anything fun you need to walk up to North Melbourne shops. I would love to see more small bars, restaurants, cafes, shops on the ground levels of these to be completed apartment buildings.”

“West Melbourne is growing rapidly, with lots of redevelopment opportunity I believe it’s important to bring culture and vibrant business opportunities for all the existing and new residents to enjoy. I want to see more parks, shops, bars, cafes.... I see the future of West Melbourne as the cool sibling of the CBD.”

What we’re doing

Our 2018 West Melbourne Structure Plan recommends establishing a new local activity centre along Spencer Street and enhancing the North Melbourne Train Station precinct to reinforce this area as a hub of activity and gateway to West Melbourne.

Through our Business Precinct Program 2021-25, we encourage local businesses to join the North and West Melbourne Precinct Association to benefit from local activation support and marketing campaigns.

We provide a range of support for businesses including: grants, mentoring, workshops, extended outdoor dining initiatives, regular  newsletters, research and data sharing.

Our business concierge service supports prospective start-ups encouraging new businesses into West Melbourne.

  • Melbourne’s unique identity and place

    We will celebrate and protect the places, people and cultures that make Melbourne a unique, vibrant and creative city with world-leading liveability.

Cement the suburb’s unique identity and promote it as a distinctive destination.

What you told us

You told us that more could be done to put West Melbourne ‘on the map’ as a unique neighbourhood with its own distinctive identity and assets. You believe that the name of the North Melbourne Train Station doesn’t reflect its location in West Melbourne, and we should look at ways to promote the neighbourhood as a visitor destination.

“I hope in the future West Melbourne will have moved on from the CBD-centric mindset and be recognised as its own distinct place.”

“I live and work in the area; we own a business in West Melbourne and our children attend the local childcare and school. Renaming North Melbourne station to West Melbourne would help solidify the identity of West Melbourne by recognising it as a suburb in its own right. So many born and bred Melbournians do not know West Melbourne as a suburb even exists, and this is disheartening.”

“Marketing and destination events [like Festival Hall] highlight how easy and quick it is to visit and why."

"Big street parties [like Spring Fling] events, and regular gigs at Flagstaff Gardens like the scale of the old New Year’s Eve parties.”

What we’re doing

Our Participate West Melbourne project is uncovering all that is unique about this pocket of the city, and looking at opportunities to make this neighbourhood the best it can be.

In March 2022, we held a special meeting of the Future Melbourne Committee in a community venue in West Melbourne. It focused on neighbourhood issues, highlighting local context and assets.

Our What’s On social media channels have featured a commercial ‘spotlight’ campaign on neighbourhood hospitality businesses and promoted visitor attraction events. We’ve recently also published a feature piece about “What we love about West Melbourne” in the North and West City News.

Community Facebook groups, such as Discovering West Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Docklands, or Support Local – North & West Melbourne , as well as North & West Melbourne Precinct are enthusiastically boosting the profile of West Melbourne.

We are represented on the Metro Tunnel Community Liaison Group, where the naming of local train stations has been on the agenda.

Generate an exciting range of affordable social and cultural experiences that bring people together.

What you told us

You want more activities and things to do and enjoy locally that bring community together through culture, recreation and fun. You’d love to see more public art, regular programming in public spaces and free events, especially at night and on weekends.

“I'd like to see West Melbourne replicate other neighbourhoods that bring the community together, through festivals, events, outdoor activities and help us to engage and support our local suppliers.”

“More community events and festivals, especially as West Melbourne and surrounding suburbs are becoming increasingly culturally diverse - for example, having a small event/festival to celebrate Lunar New Year, like Footscray does. Community newsletters/bulletin notes would also be good to have to know what developments are happening in the area...distributed via cafes in the area then people can read the newsletter while waiting for their coffee."

“Host small music festivals and have artsy events and activities to bring people to the area as a destination.”

What we’re doing

Council’s Event Partnership Program co-funded the colourful Arriba! Melbourne Mexican Festival at Flagstaff Gardens. Arts Grants support creatives, such as Kings Artist Run, which will present work in West Melbourne at various venues throughout the year.

We foster creative practice through the subsidised residencies and facility management of 60 artist studios at River Studios, as well as Unit 4 Factory Makers Space.

The City of Melbourne Bowls Club at Flagstaff Gardens offers casual Barefoot Bowling sessions for group bookings and invites new regular members. Locals can also enjoy a range of sport activities at the multipurpose courts at Flagstaff.

Other independent cultural institutions in the area producing engaging local experiences include; Festival Hall, the Blender Studios, and Witches in Britches.

Transform the Maribyrnong River waterway and trail into a well-known and well-utilised natural asset.

What you told us

You see potential for the Maribyrnong River to be better known and utilised as a natural asset. You would love to see amenities such as picnic tables and informative signage along the Trail. You’ve also suggested educational activities, programming and promotions to create a more inviting environment.

“The Maribyrnong Trial doesn't have places to sit and enjoy the scenery or eat your lunch. It would be good to have some public seating and picnic tables. Make it more inviting for people to go for a walk there and hang-out.”

“Focus on knowing more about the Maribyrnong River and its ecology, history and current possibilities.”

“Beautify the river bank. Match the works on the Footscray side by providing a walking path not a shared bike path.”

What we’re doing

Maribyrnong Waterfront: A Way Forward June 2020 presents future opportunities for the land adjacent to the bank of the Maribrynong River, within the industrial area of West Melbourne. The waterfront area is identified within the future urban renewal precinct of Dynon, and plays an important economic and employment role in the city.

An Aboriginal Cultural Values Assessment of the catchment has been undertaken with Traditional Owners, with three guiding principles developed; "Regenerate and Celebrate the Maribyrnong River, “Adapt to a Changing Context”, and “Improve Connectivity”.

In 2022, we invested $140,000 to upgrade Maribrynong River Bike Trial with path resealing and new planting.

The City of Melbourne Waterways Unit works closely with Parks Victoria, who are responsible for recreational activities along the Maribynong River.

Ensure each new building adds positive value to the neighbourhood as it grows.

What you told us

You believe the continued liveability and character of West Melbourne relies on future development that produces high quality sustainable homes and workplaces, respects the neighbourhood’s unique heritage, and can accommodate people living on lower incomes.

You emphasised that you do not believe these outcomes are achievable through dense high-rise buildings, and you’re eager for key aspects of the West Melbourne Structure Plan to be realised.

“Affordable housing essential...Liveability is key to West Melbourne. It is brimming with potential but lacks the elements of the surrounding suburbs [not due to space or potential] but lack of investment. Need Pocket parks, greening spaces and support for pet ownership."

“…planning and design is INTEGRAL for the development of West Melbourne. Approved apartments should enhance connections and improve the surrounding environments while hopefully retaining its industrial vibe.”

“We need a mixture of housing, industry, employment and education options in our communities, so they don't become ghettoes. Imagine our communities as villages, self-contained and self-sustaining.”

What we’re doing

In May 2022, Planning Scheme Amendment C385 brought into effect controls to realise our 2018 West Melbourne Structure Plan vision.

It sets the conditions for the neighbourhood to evolve over the next twenty years, with buildings that value the distinctive heritage of the area, and deliver affordable housing. The controls will provide greater certainty to community and developers about what is allowable on each site, while generating a more interesting mix of uses and street-frontages.

Our Homes Melbourne advocates and partners with Government, the community sector and private industry to deliver on our Affordable Housing Strategy 2020-2030.

We recently endorsed the Municipal Planning Strategy which endorses E-Gate, Dynon and Maribyrnong Waterfront as potential urban renewal areas for further exploration.

  • Safety and wellbeing

    We will plan and design for the safety and wellbeing of those who live, visit, work and do business in Melbourne, regardless of their background.

Improve traffic management, fix unsafe intersections and increase pedestrian safety.

What you told us

You highlighted that particular intersections feel unsafe and you believe traffic speeds and the large number of noisy trucks on local roads are barriers to West Melbourne becoming a truly pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood.

“The intersection of Dudley and William Streets is dangerous, drivers are going through red lights. We need speed cameras here!”

“I would like West Melbourne to become more pedestrian focussed. I walk everywhere but most intersections have no safe crossings, so I am constantly dashing across roads around cars that can be going 60kph on King and Spencer Streets.”

“Walking to and from Docklands primary school from West Melbourne [Footscray Rd] is a nightmare and dangerous to cross with children. Vehicles are speeding down streets running off Spencer Street to avoid Spencer Street, / Dudley Street and King Street / Dudley Street well as the volume of large trucks using these streets in excess of the speed limits.”

What we’re doing

Our Transport Strategy 2030 sets targets to halve the number of people killed or seriously injured on city streets by the end of the decade.

We are consulting with residents and businesses in Hawke Street, West Melbourne to redesign the way cars, bikes and pedestrians navigate the street in order to limit ‘rat-running’.

Other projects have been identified through the West Melbourne, North Melbourne and Docklands Transport and Amenity Program. Together with the Victorian Department of Transport, we are investing $100m in projects that will reduce local impacts of the West Gate Tunnel.

In 2022, we consulted with families and school leadership at Docklands Primary and are working closely with the Victorian Department of Transport to plan for significant pedestrian and cycle upgrades on Footscray Road and pedestrian improvements to Dudley Street and the associated intersection.

We’re collaborating with Victoria Police and the Department of Transport to launch a state-wide Hooning Community Reference Group. Community and other stakeholder representatives will provide input into recommendations for consideration by Government.

What we’re doing next

City of Melbourne will commission a neighbourhood-wide parking and traffic pattern study to inform future urban planning projects.

Cleaner streets, better lighting, more police presence and public toilets.

What you told us

You said that you don’t always feel safe in the public spaces of West Melbourne. You believe that increased public lighting, the presence of neighbours, street beautification, later shopping hours as well as working with police and support services could help discourage anti-social behaviour.

You also suggest that installing additional public toilets in the area, could help meet the demands of our growing residential, worker and visitor population.

“I don't like being here [near River Studios in the Industrial part of West Melbourne] after dark. It’s like a wasteland. Docks are creepy and back alleys are too. Aesthetically, it looks like a stage set for a crime. Gentrification of the area and better lighting will improve the sense of safety.”

“Lack of street lighting. Spencer Street traffic can be scary. I’m not confident to let my children be outside [10/12-year-olds] without an adult and would not let them cross Spencer Street on their own. The number of closed/empty shop fronts in West Melbourne to North Melbourne makes me feel a little uncomfortable. It can be isolating in the streets when nobody else is around and since shops have closed permanently there’s less foot traffic and therefore people.”

“Police driving around and strolling at night - helps me feel secure when I leave the shop at night.”

“Install public toilets in small green reserves, and put feature lighting in the large trees, at Reserve end of King Street.”

What we’re doing

We recently upgraded Citipower’s street lighting to LED globes and regularly investigate public recommendations to improve lighting in our neighbourhoods.

Our Clean City team conduct street sweeping, pressure hosing, and graffiti removal from public areas, and can assist with graffiti on private business properties upon request. Our Rapid Response team recently conducted a two week proactive litter and tagging removal blitz in West Melbourne. You can report a location for street cleaning, repair or maintenance online anytime, or call us on 8658 8658.

We are working with Victoria Police and other community support agencies to help people feel more safe. We are on the Police Community Consultative Committee, which meets monthly at the North Melbourne Police station, and connect through the Neighbourhood Policing model. We also maintain collaborative relationships with West Melbourne crisis accommodation provider, Salvation Army.

What we’re doing next

City of Melbourne will review its street bin services and design.