Work is set to get underway on creating floating wetlands in Melbourne’s Yarra River – Birrarung and improved vegetation at Birrarung Marr, as part of the first phase of Melbourne City Council’s Greenline project.

The Greenline project aims to rehabilitate the northern bank of the Yarra River near the CBD, creating a 4km ecological corridor from Birrarung Marr, near Federation Square and the MCG, to the Bolte Bridge in Docklands.

The project aims to create spaces that celebrate Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung culture. It also aims to improve connections between the river and city, by removing barriers and improving wayfinding, while also creating a continuous, uninterrupted pathway to the Docklands.

As part of its 2022/23 draft Budget, released this week, Melbourne City Council has committed to invest $140 million over the next four years into the project, with $40 million to be spent over the next year.

The first two phases of the project will focus on Birrarung Marr, as well as the River Park Precinct, which is bordered by King, Spencer and Flinders Streets.

At Birrarung Marr, along with the floating wetlands trial, the Council will transform the river’s hard edges by planting native riparian vegetation along 600 metres of the riverbank, applying “sponge city” strategies to parks and initiatives to improve water quality.

In the River Park Precinct, the priorities include prioritising pedestrians at the Spencer and King Street road crossings, improving ecological value of the area, creating new opportunities for recreation and reducing the impact of the rail viaduct (possibly through noise reduction).

Future works in the Greenline project will focus on the area between the two precincts, around Flinders Street Station and the Banana Alley vaults, and through the Docklands. 

Full details are listed in The Greenline Implementation Plan, which was endorsed by the Future Melbourne Committee in December 2021.

“Greenline will change the landscape of our city forever, delivering more than $1 billion in economic activity and transforming the north bank of the Yarra River from the MCG to Docklands,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement.

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