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Yarra’s pocket parks recognised at national awards
01 September 2014
An ongoing program to convert roads into imaginative ‘pocket parks’ has seen Yarra Council recognised with a national award.
Yarra Council last week won the Award for Open Space Planning at the 2014 Parks and Leisure Australia Awards – an annual event celebrating excellence and leadership in the industry.
The award recognises Council’s innovative efforts to reclaim roads and car parks to create new neighbourhood open spaces.
Four new parks have been created since the program started in 2009, including Peel Street Park in Collingwood (formerly a car park site) Oxford Street Park, also in Collingwood (formerly road space), Richmond Terrace Park (formerly an intersection) and Lennox Street Park (formerly a vacant plot of land).
This year, Council plans to add another project to its growing list by transforming a disused freeway ramp in Church Street, Richmond into a new park.
Yarra Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said Yarra’s dense urban landscape meant Council had to think imaginatively about creating more green space for the community.
“Vacant land is scarce in Yarra, so we had to don our creative thinking caps to consider how the resources available to us – predominantly roads and car parks - could be reinvented into open spaces for our community to enjoy,” Cr Fristacky said.
“Many of Yarra’s residents now live in apartments without backyards and courtyards, so small pockets of public space provide important opportunities for residents to relax and get to know people in their neighbourhood,” she said.
“Each park has been thoughtfully designed with custom features, like flexible furniture and timber decking, which contribute to the unique character of each neighbourhood and create a real sense of pride and belonging amongst members of our community.
“They are surprising and delightful gems nestled among Yarra’s urban landscape.
“I have had great satisfaction opening several pocket parks this year and experiencing the pleasure and pride shared in these parks among the local community.
“Importantly, these sites are now more environmentally sustainable spaces than they were previously, with lawns and garden beds that reduce stormwater runoff and trees that provide cooling and shade in summer.
“Peel Street Park, in particular, features a rain garden that captures and treats water from the site.
“Council is thrilled to receive this award, but perhaps our greatest sense of achievement comes after visiting these parks any lunchtime or weekend to see people from all walks of life relaxing, playing, reading, walking their dogs, and enjoying spending time in their local community,” she said.
Acting Senior Communications Officer
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