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VAST tracts of railyards and roadways would be roofed over to create much needed housing, facilities and public space for rapidly growing inner city communities.
The proposal from Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood would see the CBD, Docklands and West Melbourne linked by decking over rail lines to support substantial development.
Another section would stretch from Federation Square East to Richmond Station.
Rail lines would be roofed over under a plan to create more public open space in the inner city.Cr Wood’s idea is separate from Lord Mayor Sally Capp’s “high line park” concept involving an elevated green trail linking Federation Square with Southern Cross Station.
Cr Wood said that the inner city was running short of sporting facilities as the population boomed.
“The Victorian Government is looking strategically at the entire rail corridor in the CBD, and I really hope their thinking includes community sporting infrastructure,” he said.
“The idea of people using footy ovals framing either our mighty MCG or Marvel Stadium is something I don’t think you’d see anywhere else in the world,” he said.
Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood.While ideas to build over sites like Federation Square East have been around for years, Cr Wood said using less expensive, lighter-weight decking would be more financially viable.
“Across greater Melbourne there are thousands of hectares of rail and road corridors that lend themselves to development,” he said.
With Melbourne tipped to have at least eight million people by 2050, Cr Wood welcomed the government’s infrastructure program, but said much more was needed.
“We need to start thinking like a very big city and planning accordingly or we can kiss Melbourne’s liveability goodbye,” he said.
“If we get it wrong, then congestion, lack of open space, growing inequality and declining liveability is where we’ll go very quickly.”
A previous plan for the Federation Square East redevelopment.The Deputy Lord Mayor said the government’s proposed Suburban Rail Loop was commendable, but a priority should be starting work on Metro 2 — an underground rail line linking Clifton Hill and Newport via the CBD and the Fishermans Bend redevelopment.
“Other rail projects include airport rail, and despite the naysayers, I believe a line to Doncaster should be delivered in the short-term,” he said.
Cr Wood also called for doubling the reach and frequency of the city’s bus network, and for limiting urban sprawl to protect food-producing farmland.
Melbourne is under intense pressure from rapid population growth.Urban Development Institute of Australia state CEO Danni Addison said Melbourne’s liveability would need serious investment and proper planning to ensure it was protected and enhanced.
“We need a solid housing supply pipeline, with balances across all areas of Melbourne, and investment in Victoria’s regionals centres to encourage jobs and opportunities to emerge and attract new residents,” she said.
“This is Victoria’s economic future, and our homes and our communities are at the heart of it.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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