Melbourne has announced a string of new projects, including a $70 million community hub and the creation of open spaces equivalent to 12 MCGs as part of its $619 million budget vision.
A draft budget, released on Thursday, provides millions to protect the city’s heritage, including its iconic town hall, hundreds of new childcare places, support for rough sleepers and more space for bike lanes.
Under the plans, 2.5 hectares of neighbourhood space will be created and a brand new park will be built at Collins St, the first central city park to be developed since City Square in the 1970s.
The budget marks the city’s biggest-ever investment in community services and capital works, council says.
A $70 million community centre and the creation of 48 hectares of open space are the centrepieces of council’s 2019/20 budget.
The new community hub will feature a 120-place childcare facility, 500 parks, affordable housing and other community infrastructure.
Council will also spend $28.7 million to create and renew public open space to help the city manage its growing population, which is set to topple Sydney’s by 2026.
This includes more than 2.5 hectares of new public space and neighbourhood parklands due for completion in 2020.
“We will invest $29 million this year towards our goal of adding more than 12 MCGs worth of public open space to the city over the next 15 years,” Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said.
The funding includes $3.4 million to create the first park in the city centre since City Square through a $7.53 million jointly-funded project with CBUS.
“This will be the first park created in the central city since City Square was developed in the 1970s. The new park will provide open space in an area of Collins Street that is used by 40,000 pedestrians each day,” Cr Wood said.
The upgrades will also see millions go to the revitalisation of Southbank Promenade and Southbank Boulevard.
Melbourne’s 148-year-old town hall will get a $4.5 million refurbishment as part of the plans and the city’s Queen Victoria Market and Regent Theatre will benefit from the funding boost, with repair works to be undertaken in the next year to preserve the landmarks for future generations.
As well, $250 million will be handed to the Queen Victoria Precinct to deliver a ‘world-class’ market, with $15 million to be spent in the next year.
More space for bike lanes
Council is also set to remove more than a hundred car park spaces to deliver 50 kilometres of on-road bike lanes as part of the plans.
The $2.6 million project will see 130 carparks along the city’s main Exhibition Street replaced with bike lanes.
Council will also invest $18.4 million over the next year to ensure Melbourne continues to be one of the nation’s leading cultural hubs, with the investment set to go to New Year’s Eve, Moomba Festival, Christmas, Melbourne Fashion Week and Melbourne Music Week.
Public submissions on the draft budget are open from May 10 and will be considered at a special meeting on June 13.
It comes after council last week released its draft 10-year transport plan for the city, which would hand large areas of space to pedestrians and cyclists.
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