Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
Melway ref: 2B, J2
Situated amongst the Rathdowne Street shopping precinct, Curtain Square is a popular spot to relax and enjoy a coffee.
The extensive playground provides entertainment for the kids, while the shady surrounds are an ideal place to take a load off and retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Features and facilities
Features and facilities include:
- Basketball court
- Drinking fountain
- On street parking
- Dogs are permitted off leash in part of the park, Multizone park
Council to undertake possum fertility and tree conservation trial
In September 2011, Council adopted a $160,000 plan to carry out a two-year trial aimed at reducing the park’s possum population and reviving its unhealthy trees.
The health of some trees in the park has been of concern for several years. In late 2009, an arborist conducted a health assessment of the trees in Curtain Square. That assessment identified six historically significant trees that were in poor health.
Possum overgrazing is believed to be one of the factors affecting the health of the trees. A possum count conducted in early 2010 by consultants Ecology Australia found the density of possums in Curtain Square was more than three times higher than in any other park in Melbourne, and more than 10 times higher than in natural environments in the greater metropolitan region.
The tasks outlined in the adopted trial were recommended by the Curtain Square Advisory Committee, a group (including animal interest groups, residents, ecologists and Councillors) set up by Council to find a solution to managing the ecology of Curtain Square.
Council resolved to carry out the two-year trial which will include several measures, as outlined below. Here is the Curtain Square Site Management Plan - September 2011 (749.81 KB)
Click here for more details about the works being implemented at the site.
About $100,000 has been allocated in Council's 2012-13 budget to undertake the works, with more funding expected to be allocated in next year's budget.
The works will involve:
- fertility control of possums to limit breeding
- a Council-controlled possum feeding program to wean possums off public feeding
- the creation and enforcement of a local law to ban unauthorised feeding of possums
- additional banding of vulnerable trees to prevent possums from reaching the trees’ upper levels
- improved irrigation of trees and management of mulching, soil care, and pruning
- bi-annual surveys of the possum population and mature tree health
- new plantings to increase the variety and quantity of trees and vegetation in Curtain Square
- the possible removal of possum nesting box numbers to encourage diverse native wildlife.
The fertility control program would be conducted by qualified wildlife vets with permission from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), and would most likely involve the use of hormonal implants to prevent possums reproducing. In late 2012, Council officers held meetings with DSE representatives to seek detailed advice on what steps they would need to follow to develop the fertility program.
The fertility trial actions are estimated to cost about $60,000 more over two years than it would cost to cull the possums. However, Council is not proposing to cull possums as concerns were raised by some committee members that culling was an inhumane way to control possum numbers in the park.
In July 2012, Council adopted new local laws which include a ban on people feeding possums. A fine of $500 will apply.
In November 2009, Council adopted its Urban Wildlife Management Plan 2009 (2.91MB)
At its 19 October 2010 meeting, Council resolved to set up the Curtain Square Community Advisory Committee, to find agreed solutions to managing the park.
In the interim, Council banded six trees identified as being in poor health. The bands were placed above known possum dens to avoid the need to relocate possums during the banding exercise.
At its July 2011 meeting, Council agreed to put the committee's recommendations out for community consultation.
For further information on this issue, please contact Joanna Bush, Coordinator - Open Space Projects, on 9205 5794 or at Joanna.Bush@yarracity.vic.gov.au
Curtain Square is wheelchair accessible, including an accessible toilet.
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