Tomorrow morning we have Channel 9 coming to cover the contentious proposal to sell the land beside the Creek, just over Merri Parade from us, extending from St George’s Rd Bridge downstream to around the bike bridge. Please come along at 10.45 tomorrow morning so we can show the cameras some numbers! Bring your kids, dogs, bikes, etc.
VicTrack is evidently seeking $1.5M from the Darebin City Council for a transfer of ownership of the parkland between the Creek and Merri Parade. Basically, the land ownership is a hangover from the 19th century, when the train line was proposed come over the Creek closer to St George’s Rd. Instead, VicTrack's precursor bought up lots from the public sale of the “St George’s Park” estate (ie our adjacent neighbourhood!) and built the train line and Merri station in its current location.
This land has been maintained by Darebin for decades, mowing, weeding and maintaining the bike path. The Friends of the Merri Creek have maintained the native vegetation and secured funding for the rejuvenation of this land. The Merri Creek Management Committee has effectively governed the land. Many of us have organised and/or participated in removing rubbish from this land as a part of Clean of Australia Day. It’s classified as an area of significance for its importance to our local Indigenous people, its environmental values and its high amenity for residents from all over the Cities of Darebin and Yarra.
As our rates fuel much of the City’s activities and programs, and our volunteer labour has returned some stunning results, I consider that we have already paid for this community space many times over.
Most disturbing, from the Council report, is the implication that if Council cannot purchase the land, then it may be sold privately. This is unacceptable. We should support our Council on this one and call for VicTrack to have the land reclassified as Crown Land, with the City of Darebin appointed as its Committee of Management.
Hope to see you there!