Greening projects making Melbourne an urban forest
The City of Melbourne is set to become a little greener with a number of tram stops transforming into lush eco-installations as part of the council’s Urban Forest Fund Grant program.
The program, which has been around since 2017, has invested more than $1.7 million into 19 projects valued at more than $10 million, with the Urban Forest Fund supported by tree removal fees.
Included within the latest $500,000 investment into the program will be four other projects in addition to the greening of tram stops, with the projects equating to a worth of more than $3.8 million.
“City greening projects like these are essential to adapting our city to a changing climate, supporting its continual transformation into a thriving urban forest,” the council’s environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said.
“Together, these projects will increase our climate resilience by improving biodiversity and canopy cover, reducing air pollution and mitigating impacts of the urban heat island effect.”
Following a partnership with the Department of Transport and Yarra Trams, the council will start with its trial on four major tram stops, including Collins and Williams streets’ Stop 3 on Routes 11, 12, 48, and 109, and William and Bourke streets’ Stop 5 for Route 58.
The plants for the installations will be grown and installed by eco-developer Plant Based Building Solutions, which is located in Port Melbourne.
Included within the installed plants will be local grasses and wildflowers that can be found on Volcanic Plain Grasslands. The drought tolerant plant palettes will also ensure the eco-installations can withstand the challenging growing conditions of harsh, dry summers.
According to Yarra Trams’ chief executive Julien Dehornoy, the goal of the program was something that Yarra Trams, the world’s largest tram network, aligned with strongly as it had continued to do what it could do to support “Victoria’s circular economy”.
“Everyone has a role to play in creating a more sustainable and liveable Melbourne, and this partnership with the City of Melbourne and Department of Transport to trial the installation of green tram stops is just one way we’re working to make a difference for our city,” Mr Dehornoy said.
“Melbourne’s iconic trams are already powered by solar power and are the most eco-friendly mode of public transport to get into the city, but we’re not resting on our laurels.”
The council has also partnered with a number of additional supporting organisations and community groups, with Lord Mayor Sally Capp stating it was “looking forward to working alongside its collaborators to bring their brilliant ideas into fruition”.
“We’re thrilled to support community organisations with the delivery of innovative and sustainable projects to help accelerate greening in the city as part of the Urban Forest Fund Grant program,” Cr Capp said.
“Since its inception, the program has created a variety of jobs for Melburnians and generated almost five times the economic return on investment. Not only will these projects beautify our city, but they will also create opportunities for community connection and draw more visitors back to the CBD.”
Other projects included in this round are the creation of a green oasis at a historic fire station in North Melbourne, a new native communal garden for an apartment block in Agnes St, Jolimont, and a green wall for the Hero Apartment Building on Little Collins St.
All projects are due for completion by the end of June 2023, which will add 1000 square metres of new green cover throughout the municipality. •
Caption: Render of the Urban Forest Fund tram stop eco-installations.
Credit: Realview Studio and Yarra Trams.