Park possibly permanent

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By Joel Roddy

The Moubray Street pop up park experiment has taken another step towards becoming a permanent fixture in Albert Park. Port Phillip Councillors have voted to begin the process to permanently close a section of Moubray Street adjacent to Albert Park Primary School. Since July of 2013 a pop up park has been in place, which has proven popular with students and residents in the area, with the added bonus of reducing traffic around the school.

However not all of the feedback has been positive with some residents raising concerns. One of them being the possible impact on residential parking. Another consequence could be school drop off and pick up parking becoming harder to find. Some residences would also face losing direct street frontage, which would hamper access for emergency vehicles, taxis, moving vans and even home delivery services. Surrounding streets could also face an increase in traffic with drivers having to find alternative routes.

Mayor Amanda Stevens said: “While it’s terrific that Albert Park Primary students can use this extra open space, it is not an extension of the school grounds and is available for the community to enjoy. Full fencing is not appropriate as the park is a public resource. As with other schools using parks in Port Phillip, Albert Park Primary School is responsible for implementing safety strategies when its students visit this public space. Open space is important to our community. A permanent park would be a great meeting place for all ages to enjoy, whether to play and sit and enjoy the surroundings.”

Public consultation has been conducted in October 2013 and 2014 by the Council, confirming strong community support for the park to become a permanent part of the street. The consultation also revealed that the pop up park is already a well used space, by both local residents and students of Albert Park Primary School. The current benches and potted plants would make way for a more permanent park comprising of trees, grass and seats. Low fences would provide protection from the road on either side, while still allowing easy access for the community. The final design of the park will be open to public consultation.

The pop up park will continue to operate throughout the approval process, and construction is expected to start in 2016, subject to both approval and funding.

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