The promise of a new Upper Merri Park linked to a Wallan Regional Park along the Merri is coming closer to reality. Both are critical parts of the Greater Wallan-Merri Park concept, a 2016 joint initiative of MCMC, Friends of Merri Creek and Wallan Environment Group to create A living landscape for a liveable Melbourne.
The Upper Merri Park is one of five new 'suburban' parks the State Government has committeed to. A feasibility study for the Wallan Regional Park is also commencing. The park boundaries will be determined through consultation with stakeholders and community.
MCMC had a very positive first meeting with the DEWLP project officers for the Upper Merri Park in mid-July - see below for key steps and time-lines for the park development process.
- Identify land and boundaries for each park and draft plans: March 2020
- Community consultation on plans (staggered delivery across the five parks): July 2020
- Finalise plans (staggered delivery across the five parks): Dec 2020
- Land managers to develop master plans for identify where park infrastructure is required: June 2021
- Acquire land/develop land management agreements
- Begin provision of access park infrastructure (e.g. car parking, visitor nodes and amenities): Aug 2021
The key stakeholders and partners for the Upper Merri Park are identified as the City of Hume, City of Whittlesea, Mitchell Shire Council, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Wurundjeri Council, Victorian Planning Authority, Merri Creek Management Committee and Friends of Merri Creek. The project will adopt a park planning and management model that involves multiple land managers and key stakeholders (including participation of volunteers) working together for the planning and management of the parks. Given that the project is about land managers and key stakeholders working collaboratively to create these parks, the project is called ‘Planning and Managing Together’.
DEWLP describes the project benefits as:
• Improved protection and awareness of key biodiversity values along our waterways and riparian areas.
• Improved liveability in Melbourne’s northern metropolitan growth area, with positive impacts on health and wellbeing.
• Improved assets on public land, including green infrastructure and visitor/tourism assets.
• Improved ability for Victoria to attract jobs, investment and skilled people to growth areas.