Rushall Reserve shared path update

Thursday 21 March 2019

At its council meeting on 19 March 2019, Yarra Council decided not to proceed with plans to build a shared path in Rushall Reserve.  

The decision comes following a range of complex logistical challenges and risks relating to the proposed path’s proximity to railway and power infrastructure, and the adjoining embankment next to the Merri Creek.  

During the recent planning permit application process for the project, agencies including VicTrack (who own the land around the train line), Metro Trains (who operate the rail line) and Ausnet and CitiPower (who own underground high voltage cables), notified us that additional works would be required to their assets to facilitate the construction of the path. These requirements would cause a substantial increase in the costs of the proposal.  

In addition, it is expected that there will be further unforeseen costs during construction which are likely to arise due to the complexity of the location.   

Council decided that it would not proceed after in-depth consideration of the impact these challenges would have on the scope and budget of the project.  

More details about the challenges to the project are available as part the council meeting agenda for 19 March 2019.

You can also read the council meeting minutes and listen to an audio recording of the meeting.  

Read the full council resolution from the 19 March council meeting below:

Moved: Cr Coleman                                Seconded: Cr Fristacky

1.         That Council notes:

a)         the officer report and referral advice received during the planning permit application process;

b)        that the ability to construct a shared path located between South Morang railway line and Merri Creek cliff face has become more complex and costly due to:

i)          the need for geological testing of the cliff face;

ii)         the proximity to railway and power company infrastructure;

iii)        the financial risks associated with potential disruption to railway operations.

2.         That Council acknowledges:

a)         the history of the proposed Rushall Reserve Shared path project;

b)        the significant effort of Council officers to undertake design work, community and stakeholder consultation;

c)         those community members who have participated in the consultation processes over a number of years;

d)        the continuing need for improvements to the Merri Creek trail as a significant off-road cycling path in Yarra;

e)        the continuing need for pedestrian access from the Southern end of Rushall Reserve.

3.         That Council resolves to:

a)         not proceed with the current Rushall Reserve Shared Path project;

b)        withdraw the current planning permit application;

c)         direct officers to advise relevant parties;

d)        continue its commitment to fund and deliver improvements to Yarra's off-road shared path network.

4.         That in relation to Council resolutions concerning other improvement works at the Reserve, Council note:

a)         that the proposed drinking fountains, new seating and the intended landscape improvements processes along the creek should be progressed as soon as possible, consistent with previous Council resolutions: and

b)        Officers will provide a further report to Council within the next three months regarding a process for engagement with the local community concerning other possible general and specific amenity improvement opportunities to the Reserve, such report to include:

i)          an outline of appropriate community engagement options to gather broad community opinions on desirable improvements for Council consideration;

ii)         a review of appropriate improvements to directional and interpretive signage, appropriate new plantings/revegetation and drainage aspects, and

iii)        a review of whether or not the existing asphalt path through the Reserve should be removed, or rather, retained, extended or replaced with turf.

5.        That Council directs officers to report to Council in the August 2019 meeting cycle on the viability of other off-road cycling projects on the Merri Creek trail with advice from the Bicycle Advisory Committee and being consistent with the 2016 Bicycle Refresh Strategy.

6.         That Council, in advising VicTrack of its decision not to proceed with the shared path, refer VicTrack to concerns raised by the community regarding the use of the informal goat track on VicTrack land and requests it to deal with those through appropriate safety mechanisms including protection along the escarpment.



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