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Funding for Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve

The closure of Elsternwick Golf Course is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a natural refuge in inner city Melbourne.

In the lead up to the 2019 election, we are seeking $3 million in federal funding to transform the old golf course into a place of regional significance that everyone can enjoy.

The creation of environmentally focused, open space at Elsternwick Park North represents a unique and regionally significant opportunity to improve liveability within inner metropolitan Melbourne.

The nature reserve, with its expanded wetland, will create a haven for threatened and locally important species. New infrastructure will mitigate flooding along the Elster Creek and improve water quality flowing into Port Phillip Bay.

Elsternwick Park North borders the Cities of Bayside, Port Phillip and Glen Eira and was previously the site of the Elsternwick Golf Course.

In March 2018, in response to extensive community and stakeholder consultation, Council determined that Elsternwick Park North be adopted as an area of passive open space with an environmental focus complemented by upgrades to Oval 2.

Council has conducted initial works to remove golf course bunkers, fencing, greens and other infrastructure at the park which reopened to the community on 1 July. Community engagement to inform a comprehensive Master Plan for the park has commenced - have your say on the future plan for Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve.

Bayside City Council is investing up to $3 million for the basic redevelopment of the park. The City of Port Phillip has indicated it may commit $1 million. Melbourne Water, as the regional water authority, has committed to funding flood mitigation works.

The transformation of Elsternwick Park North will require significant funding to achieve maximum benefit to the region from this exceptional opportunity.

Advocacy request

Bayside City Council is seeking $3 million in federal funding to help realise these benefits for our local community and the broader region.

Funding commitments to date

Council welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s formal election pledge of $3 million towards the transformation of Elsternwick Park North into an environmentally focused park.

The announcement was made by Labor candidate for Macnamara, Josh Burns, and Shadow Minister for Justice Clare O'Neil MP on Saturday 2 February 2019.

The Opportunity

A transformed Elsternwick Park North will provide a range of liveability benefits.

Open space and recreation

High quality open space for passive recreation is an essential ingredient to establishing a healthy and active community.

The Elsternwick Park North is located in an area experiencing significant urban growth and increasing housing density. The park is on the doorstep of the New Street public housing estate, the first Bayside site of the State Government’s Public Housing Renewal Program. This program is set to deliver 310 public and private dwellings at the site, an increase of 183 dwellings.

Elsternwick Major Activity Centre lies within a 5 minute walk of the park. The Centre has experienced significant growth in recent years which is set to continue under the state government’s Plan Melbourne strategy.

With increased population and housing growth, facilities for passive recreation are becoming increasingly important, particularly for our aging population. A significant investment in park infrastructure will be required to develop and maintain the park including paths, directional and interpretive signage, amenity facilities, park furniture and viewing platforms.

Council’s aim is to create exceptional public amenities that complement the green, natural spaces while creating opportunities for passive recreation and quiet enjoyment within the natural environment.

Environmental

The redevelopment of the park provides an opportunity to expand the existing wetlands and increase indigenous and native vegetation. This will provide high quality habitats for indigenous plants and animals, improving biodiversity and providing a refuge for threatened and locally important species.

With increased vegetation, the park can further act as a green lung for the southern metropolitan area of Melbourne.

Natural spaces within urban areas provide an important function in contributing to carbon capture, air filtration and addressing the urban heat island affect. The revegetation of the park also supports Resilient Melbourne’s Metropolitan Urban Forest Strategy.

Flood mitigation and water quality

The redevelopment of Elsternwick Park North presents an invaluable opportunity to establish integrated flood mitigation and water quality infrastructure for the Elster Creek Catchment.

The park is located at the bottom end of the catchment, which is located across the Cities of Bayside, Port Phillip, Glen Eira and Kingston. More than 2,352 properties in the City of Port Phillip and a number of properties in Bayside are assessed as at extreme risk of flooding in the lower reaches of Elster Creek.

Flows from Elster Creek run into Port Phillip Bay via the Elwood Canal. Drainage overflows contribute to stormwater pollution, impacting aquatic life and the Port Phillip ecosystem as well as recreational and casual users of Port Phillip Bay through beach closures, poor water quality and high levels of litter on Port Phillip Bay beaches.

A working group, convened by Melbourne Water as the regional drainage authority, with Chief Executive Officer representation from the Cities of Bayside, Port Phillip, Glen Eira and Kingston is actively progressing the development of the Elster Creek Action Plan. This includes the delivery of water conveyance and storage facilities including an expanded wetlands, retarding basin, drainage and waterway works.

This initiative supports delivery of the State Government’s Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy, and leverages strong partnerships between the four councils and private industry.

Further funding is required to investigate and implement the above, along with knowledge and assistance from industry experts and stakeholders such as Melbourne Water.