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VicGov goes green on Fishermans Bend – to immense relief

Fishermans Bend Recast

Immense relief has greeted the Victorian Government reworking of plans for the Fishermans Bend urban renewal site on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD to incorporate significant notions of sustainability.

The new plans for the 465 hectare site, Fishermans Bend Recast Vision, appear to be a response to intense criticisms from local councils, community and sustainability industry advocates of the total absence of sustainability in plans developed by the previous government.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the vision, developed by a taskforce that includes Port Phillip Council and City of Melbourne, will set a framework to guide the planning for Australia’s largest urban renewal area.

There will be a strong focus on active travel.

“Fishermans Bend needs to be designed to encourage residents and commuters to get around by walking, cycling or catching public transport,” the planning document says. But there will also be an underground railway line.

“The Victorian Government – via the Taskforce – will develop a flexible and adaptable plan that meets this need. It’s expected that transport infrastructure will need to be invested in before, during and after residential and business construction.”

Confirmed on Monday was that Fishermans Bend Recast will also targeting a Green Star community rating – the largest development in Australia doing so – and along with timely infrastructure provision will include housing diversity and easily accessible and integrated transport options – all elements that were neglected in the previous plans released by former planning minister Matthew Guy.

Building resilience to climate change is also a strong agenda item.

“Fishermans Bend needs to respond to climate change challenges and build resilience by adopting strategic environmental principles, improved hazard mapping, environmentally sustainable design, ‘greening the city’ methods and renewable energy.”

The news was welcomed by the Victorian chapter of the Property Council.

“Three years ago the Property Council urged the Government to endorse the Green Star – Communities rating tool at Fishermans Bend to support sustainable, resilient and liveable communities,” acting Victorian executive director Asher Judah said.

“It is exciting to see the government commit to this important sustainability reform.”

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss was particularly pleased. She said the new plans were “a great step towards the creation of a world-class new community” and that they included a number of principles council had consistently advocated for.

Detailed planning work is now underway for five separate neighbourhoods – Montague, Sandridge, Lorrimer, Wirraway, and a new employment precinct.

There will be a mix of housing types, including high-rise apartment towers with different apartment sizes, low-rise developments and townhouses.

Open public spaces, green corridors and infrastructure for active travel including cycle and walking connections across the Yarra River to access the CBD are also part of the planning. Water-based public transport is being considered.

The framework also highlights the role of vertical greening on buildings and adding trees to streets to reduce the urban heat island effect. A recycled water network is planned which will reduce potable water use.

Ms Voss said council was also positive about the use of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Communities tool for the project.

“This will be the largest Green Star Communities project in Australia and the beginning of a collaborative partnership between the Cities of Port Phillip and Melbourne, the Fishermans Bend Taskforce and Green Building Council Australia to drive sustainable outcomes for Fishermans Bend,” she said.

“This initiative also progresses our Council’s sustainability priorities and ongoing advocacy on sustainability, including the implementation of a low carbon, water sensitive, climate adept, connected and liveable, low waste and biodiverse City.”

“Port Phillip Council made a significant contribution to the 2013 Draft Vision for Fishermans Bend, which was well-received by our community.

“As well as incorporating many of these principles, the Recast Vision is an even bolder statement and we are confident it will foster a vibrant and connected new part of our City where people will love to live, visit, learn and work.”

Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said, “We applaud the Andrews government’s decision to pursue a Green Star – Communities rating for Fishermans Bend. This is something we’d been calling for over a number of years, and are delighted that the Andrews Government has responded so positively.

“The significance of the site, the scale of the project, and the far-reaching implications of ‘getting it right’ make achieving a Green Star – Communities rating an essential component of smart, sustainable planning.

“Fishermans Bend will be Australia’s largest Green Star community, and this rating will give the people of Victoria independent proof that this massive investment is not only environmentally sustainable, but also liveable, resilient, prosperous and healthy for the 80,000 people expected to live there and the 60,000 people who will work there every day.”

The framework is now out for public consultation. The relevant documents and information on how to make a submission can be found here.

Following are details on the five precincts from the draft document

  • Montague

    Montague

    Montague is a diverse and well-connected mixed-use precinct with a range of buildings. It comprises of two neighbourhoods, each with their own character and identity.

    Located between the Westgate Freeway and the 109 light rail route, the northern neighbourhood has a strong mixed used focus, including residential and office activity. Most of the buildings are tall, similar to those in the CBD, and are carefully designed to achieve human scale at street level, generally with towers set back on active podiums.

    The southern neighbourhood has range of building types. Its network of gritty streets and laneways support a myriad of businesses, including shops, cafés and creative industries that support the area’s vibrant and eclectic character. The area is safe and lively, both day and night, with street art and a strong pedestrian focus. Heritage and character buildings have been adapted to provide high amenity housing and commercial opportunities. Lower scale residential and commercial buildings along City Road and Boundary Street ensure that the precinct is well integrated with its neighbours.

  • Lorimer

    Lorimer

    Lorimer, together with the Yarras Edge Precinct in Docklands, is a keystone central to Melbourne’s identity as a river city. River crossings for walking, cycling and public transport continue the legacy of connecting Melbourne – linking Fishermans Bend to the Docklands, the CBD, and further afield to the renewal areas around North and West Melbourne. Water transport links Lorimer to the CBD, Docklands and the Employment Precinct.

    The precinct promotes healthy and diverse lifestyle choices to the full. A linear open space extends from the river, through the centre of Lorimer, and beyond to the Employment Precinct. This provides a safe walkable connection between jobs, homes, community facilities, shopping and entertainment. It links a series of public spaces with different roles and characters, provides a recreational corridor and a significant biodiversity connection to Westgate Park.

    It ensures high-density living in well-designed homes is appealing and complemented by great places to meet and gather in the public realm.

  • Sandridge

    Sandridge

    Sandridge is one of Melbourne’s premium office and commercial locations, balanced with housing and retail. It provides a high quality vibrant streets and public spaces, well served by public transport and walking and cycling links.

    Professional services and creative businesses are attracted to Sandridge – the commercial sized floorplates in many of the buildings are ideal for their needs. Proximity and good connections to the CBD, Docklands, Employment Precinct, South Melbourne and Domain ensure that businesses in Sandridge can access a wide range of clients and services.

    Architecturally diverse towers north of and along the Fennel-Plummer Street boulevard extend Melbourne’s skyline towards Port Phillip Bay. These buildings are designed to provide an attractive street level experience and protect public spaces from overshadowing. Residents and workers in these towers enjoy spectacular views towards the CBD, Port Phillip Bay and across the surrounding suburbs.

  • Wirraway

    Wirraway

    Wirraway is a family friendly neighbourhood. Small parks, plazas and playgrounds throughout the neighbourhood are linked by leafy streets lined with different types of shops, businesses and homes.

    Wirraway provides a choice of diverse housing, include small to medium scale apartment buildings. There are also some higher-rise developments with views to surrounding suburbs and the Bay. Residential developments provide intimate scaled green spaces where people can meet, gather and relax. The contemporary architecture in Wirraway sensitively references the area’s cultural and industrial heritage.

    JL Murphy Reserve is a major green space in Fishermans Bend. It is a focus for recreation, active throughout the day and evening, with organised sports and leisure activities.

    The Reserve incorporates best practice stormwater management features, which contribute to Fishermans Bend’s status as a model for water sustainability.

    Local schools use JL Murphy Reserve during the day for outdoor activities, sharing the space with the broader community.

  • Employment Precinct

    Employment

    The Fishermans Bend Employment Precinct is a world-renowned location for innovative industries, attracting international investment and producing world-leading research, technology and products.

    Its economy is highly productive and profitable, but with a low environmental impact, and complements Fishermans Bend as a whole through compatible land uses.

    World-class transport and IT infrastructure enhances the daily experience for workers and visitors alike.

    The precinct is close to the CBD and Docklands, and has easy access to the Port of Melbourne and Melbourne Airport, enjoying proximity to the West Gate Freeway and CityLink. Its strategic location in Melbourne makes this an attractive place to work for highly skilled professionals.

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