City of Melbourne endorses position paper to protect Royal Park amid sky rail plan

City of Melbourne endorses position paper to protect Royal Park amid sky rail plan
Brendan Rees

The City of Melbourne has released a position paper addressing its concerns surrounding the proposed level crossing project at Park St in Parkville, which could impact the heritage-listed Royal Park. 

The 33-page paper, which was endorsed by councillors at their May 16 Future Melbourne committee meeting and outlines in significant detail the importance of Royal Park, makes several requirements for the state government to commit to, including to “investigate all construction site options within the rail corridor” before requesting to use land at Royal Park to build a sky rail.  

“Any occupation of ovals for construction purposes is unacceptable,” it said, while also imploring that before project works begin, consultation with the public “must be undertaken,” including with Royal Park sporting groups, community groups, residents, and other key stakeholders. 

The state government announced plans last September to remove eight level crossings along the Upfield rail line between Park St, Parkville, and Albion St, Brunswick by 2027, however there have been no announcements or proposals, nor an assessment of how such works might impact Royal Park. 

Parkville is on the municipal boundary between Merri-bek City Council and the City of Melbourne. 

The proposed project has been met by community concern, with many residents saying that the design must respect Royal Park’s landscape and environment settings, heritage status and visual amenity.  

Michael Petit, secretary of the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc., said there were concerns the Level Crossing Removal Authority’s sky rail project “could do real damage to Royal Park due to the anticipated sharp rail line curved drop from Jewell to Royal Park stations” – a sentiment also shared by the Parkville Association’s president Rob Moore.

“We commend the Melbourne and Merri-bek councils for canvassing residents and submitting concerns and recommendations at this early design stage to the state government authority tasked with the project,” Mr Petit said.


We look forward to further opportunities for the public to assess and to comment on the plans that we hope will presented in draft for comment rather than as a fait accompli.


The Parkville Gardens Residents’ Association said it had acknowledged the council’s paper and would be discussing the matter at a forthcoming meeting before providing a formal response.

Speaking at the council meeting, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council was aware of the “keen community interest” in the level crossing removal proposal as evidenced by a submission from the Friends of Royal Park.

“It should be noted that this is still the early stages of this project, and our primary request will be that the Victorian government engages with the City of Melbourne and our residents and our stakeholders very early in the process, and deeply and actively listens,” she said.

The council’s heritage portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said Royal Park was the “jewel in the crown of open space in central Melbourne and which has very significant heritage values as well” and made it clear that it was vital the state government heard the council’s and the community’s concerns.

“There are examples of level crossing removals that have been done in conjunction with community and local councils that have improved designs [and] there have been examples where the state has crashed through and not done that,” he said.

“I think the best thing we can do is itemise all of the issues and, in a stand, in a spirit of collaboration and shared objective, share what all of those issues are right from the outset so that no-one, including our constituents, who are also the state’s constituents, is under any illusions as to what the objectives of the city and the community are.”

The paper also calls on the state government to provide a detailed botanical field survey that “meets the satisfaction” of the City of Melbourne before any project works begin.

The council said it would also not support any proposed long-term closure of Park St.  

Following the council adopting the paper, Cr Capp will write to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the Minister for Planning “advising council’s position and seeking their response to the issues as set out in the position paper”. 

Melbourne Greens MP Ellen Sandell has thrown her support behind residents and the potential impact of a rail bridge on the local area. She also pledged to seek answers and details from the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to make sure resident concerns were considered, and that community consultation was conducted. •

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