City floats $40m wetland plan to rewild the Yarra

The draft budget sets out $254 million to be spent on infrastructure, including the $110 million for Greenline; $50 million for restoration of the heritage sheds and the revamped food hall at the Queen Victoria Market; $25 million for the Kensington Community Aquatic and Recreation Center redevelopment; $13.7 million to repair and maintain footpaths, roads and other infrastructure; and $8.2 million for the Munro Library and Community Hub at the Queen Victoria Market.

Capp said the Greenline project would change Melbourne’s landscape and deliver more than $1 billion in economic activity, transforming the north bank of the Yarra from the MCG to Docklands.

Melbourne Water’s most recent report card for Yarra water quality described it as “slightly off track”.

“Water quality in the Yarra River continues to meet statewide microbial benchmarks to support boating but not swimming,” it said.

Capp has been seeking $100 million in contributions from the state and federal governments for the Greenline project, which is forecast to cost $300 million.

This week, the federal opposition pledged $20 million to finalize planning work and begin construction on the project.

It has also promised $5 million for Moonee Ponds Creek to remove sections of concrete drain and create a healthier waterway.

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the creek was the most abused tributary of the Yarra River and arguably the most degraded waterway in Melbourne.

“Over 180 years, we have turned the creek into an industrial drain, a transport corridor for coal barges, and a general dumping ground,” he said.

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Reece said the Moonee Ponds creek could once again be a 35-kilometre natural green corridor from the foothills near Tullamarine Airport to the Yarra River.

“Let’s get rid of the dumped shopping trolleys, the plastic bags and the concrete drain,” he said. “Let’s bring back the native grasses, the red gums and woodlands. Let’s bring back the pobblebonk frogs, the rufus night heron and other wildlife that once frequented this waterway.“

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