The City of Melbourne has announced a $1.2 million Urban Forest Fund, which it will use to match private investments in urban greening initiatives dollar-for-dollar.
It is currently seeking interested property developers, community groups and other government organisations interested in what would effectively be half-priced urban greening initiatives, including tree planting, creating parks, stormwater projects, and green walls, roofs and facades.
City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio chair Cathy Oke said the aim was to support greening projects that would otherwise go unfunded.
“The City of Melbourne owns and controls only one-fifth of the city’s land area, so we’re looking for proposals to create new green space on private property,” Ms Oke said.
“This project could lead to the creation of new spaces that can capture stormwater to reduce flooding, reduce summertime temperatures in the city and create habitat for plants and animals.”
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the fund would leave a “green legacy” for the city.
“Green infrastructure is fundamental to help cities respond to the challenges of climate change, urban heat, flooding and population growth,” Mr Doyle said.
“As well as protecting us from extreme heat, our trees and parks are a major contributor to Melbourne’s liveability. The City of Melbourne is increasing public green space and planting 3000 trees a year. This initiative, to stimulate greening of private property, which represents 73 per cent of land in our municipality, is the next frontier.”
While initial seed funding is $1.2 million, the council is attempting to grow the fund to $10 million through donations from philanthropic organisations and individuals.
Craig Taberner, chief executive of Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria, said the fund would help create a more climate resilient city.
“Access to collaborative funding should energise and empower individuals and communities to take action, and share the responsibility of creating and maintaining the city’s green spaces,” he said.
The city also has an online tool that maps the potential for green space, cool roofs and solar PV across the local government area.