Works have begun on the Reimagining Moonee Ponds Creek project, with the first sod turned on site at Ethel Reserve recently.
The works will naturalise a 500-metre section of concrete channel running through the suburbs of Strathmore and Oak Park in Melbourne’s northwest.
Mayor of Moonee Valley Samantha Byrne joined Moonee Valley City Council CEO Helen Sui, state and federal members for parliament and representatives from the Chain of Ponds Collaboration Group at an event to celebrate the start of construction. The morning began with a formal Welcome to Country and Traditional Smoking Ceremony. Conducted by an emerging Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elder, the ceremony acknowledged the significance of the environment and waterways to reconciliation.
Member for Essendon Danny Pearson MP (representing Minister for Water Lisa Neville MP) officially began the works when turning the first sod of the project, which will include channel naturalisation, pathway and revegetation works that will be completed in mid-2023.
Speaking at the creek, Mayor Byrne reflected on the importance of local community action as the core of this project.
“Moonee Valley City Council places a high value on the Moonee Ponds Creek as a much-loved natural asset in our City.
We have been a proud supporter of improvements to the creek for many years, including initiating the Chain of Ponds Master Plan and in our role as a founding partner in the Chain of Ponds Collaboration.
Moonee Valley’s involvement from day one has really been a direct reflection of our community’s passion and care for the creek.
Today marks the start of a particularly exciting phase of the project, with works starting to naturalise a very significant section of the creek. This section of the creek was the last of the concrete channel poured in 1977. Community action at the time prevented any further concrete being poured.
It’s amazing to stand here with so many passionate community representatives 45 years on, ready to return the creek to a more natural state.
One of the great strengths of the Reimagining Moonee Ponds Creek Project is that it won’t just reshape the creek channel to improve stormwater quality and biodiversity.
It will also bring people back to the creek. A better bridge crossing will connect the two sides, linking us with our neighbours in Moreland. Improved pathways and seating areas will create a safer, more enjoyable space for our community. It will be a space to gather and experience the environment together.”
Estimated completion by mid-2023:
Stage one of the $10.2 million project kicks off with the construction of a shared user path on the Brosnan Crescent side of the creek. Stage two will commence in October 2022 with remaining ground and landscaping works to be completed by mid-2023.
The Andrews Labor Government has invested $5 million towards the project with the rest funded by Melbourne Water, Moonee Valley City Council and Moreland City Council. The funding is part of shovel-ready water projects under the Victorian Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works Program.
Community led design process:
Inspired by the local community, this project will result in an amazing creek environment, where the community can interact in a cooler, healthier environment. It will also activate more local open space for the community to enjoy.
Community consultation took place in August and September 2021 where feedback was sought on three different options for Moonee Ponds Creek naturalising. This preferred concept includes a new pond at Oak Park that particularly appealed to the community.
Recommitting to the creek with a new MoU:
The exciting project is a centrepiece of the Chain of Ponds Collaboration Group, made up of 15 community and government organisations committed to transforming Moonee Ponds Creek into an iconic Melbourne Waterway. Following the sod-turning, Council joined 12 partner organisations to sign the new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The new MoU ensures the group continues to work together to identify, create and deliver projects that enhance the environmental, cultural and social values of Moonee Ponds Creek.
The organisations include local and state government, community groups, not-for-profits, water corporations and research organisations.
Melbourne Water is leading the project through its Reimaging Your Creek Program on behalf of the Collaboration Group and in partnership with Moreland City Council, Moonee Valley City Council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).