An expert panel has released proposals  for the 11 MCGs worth of open space which will be  created as part of the $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong level crossing removal project.

The Community Open Space Expert Panel, headed by Botanic Gardens chief Tim Entwisle, was created by the Victorian Government to guide the development of new public space created underneath the elevated rail line, and oversee its maintenance.

“This was an exciting and rare chance to help shape a huge amount of new parkland for Melbourne, and it was a privilege to be a part of it,” Mr Entwisle said.

“Community feedback played a huge part in the process and I’d personally like to thank everyone who contributed.”

The panel includes architecture, urban design and landscaping experts, as well as representatives from the local community, councils, the Bicycle Network and Victoria Police.

The panel’s recommendation report considers practical details around keeping the park green, safe and comfortable, as well as big ticket items like climbing walls to create exciting new community spaces.

Key recommendations from the panel include:

  • Seven dedicated recreation spaces that appeal to all ages and cater for both active and relaxing activities
  • New facilities that address things lacking in the surrounding areas – like more green space in the City of Glen Eira, outdoor event space in Clayton, and dog parks for Clayton and Noble Park
  • Native species planted in a way that encourages birds to move and feed along the park
  • A new walking and cycling path running all the way between Caulfield and Yarraman with exercise pit stops, rest areas and bike repair stations

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, “This is one of the biggest releases of new parkland ever seen in Melbourne and we have brought together top experts to help us get it right.

“The work done by the expert panel sets a new standard for getting local communities involved in shaping major projects.”

The wider community were also asked to have their say over the first half of 2017, with thousands getting involved through the online ideas hub, which attracted 34,000 views.

The Victorian Government will now consider the expert panel’s recommendations in conjunction with the Level Crossing Removal Authority as work progresses towards final designs, set to be released late 2017.

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