Eltham Gateway Project

Introduction

Nillumbik Shire Council is working in partnership with Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and the Southern Gateway Renewal Group (SGRG) on a community led project to revitalise the southern gateway into Eltham.

The Eltham Gateway Project will focus on rehabilitating and enhancing areas on both sides of Main Road, between Falkiner Street and the Diamond Creek Bridge, and is a response to the construction of the new intersection at Fitzsimons Lane.

The aim of the project is to create a sense of arrival into Eltham and the Green Wedge Shire of Nillumbik by reclaiming public open space and revegetating underutilised roadside areas. The project will acknowledge the traditional owners of the land using indigenous planting and the creation of a public artwork on the northern side of Main Road.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on draft conceptual master plan. This has been an has been important first step in the sharing of ideas, and the plan will evolve in response to this consultation.

Feedback has now closed.

The project will potentially be delivered in stages, depending on final scope. The first stage will be jointly funded by Nillumbik Shire Council and MRPV, and is proposed to commence in September 2022 and completed by early 2023. Depending on final scope, other stages will be completed as further funding becomes available.

Next Steps

Council will review the feedback and also consider submissions at the 13 September Planning and Consultation Committee meeting, where submitters will also be able to make verbal statements. To register to speak at the Planning and Consultation Committee meeting click here

Conceptual master plan

The conceptual master plan has been developed by local consultants Indigenous Design after consultation with Nillumbik Shire Council, and in response to all previously received external feedback.

Project Background

Project Background

Nillumbik Shire Council, Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and local community group Southern Gateway Renewal Group (SGRG) are collaborating on a project to design and deliver a legacy initiative for an enhanced Eltham Gateway.

Feedback from a community survey conducted by Eltham MP Vicki Ward has been used to inform the landscape concept design.

The project will strengthen connections between people and place, reimagine public spaces, and leave a lasting impact on our community

Southern Gateway Renewal Group (SGRG)

The Southern Gateway Renewal Group (SGRG)

The Southern Gateway Renewal Group (SGRG) is a local community group who have strongly advocated for a new gateway to Eltham and Nillumbik following the removal of the Main Road roundabout. Their objectives for the new gateway include:

  • Creating a 'sense of arrival' at Eltham and the Green Wedge Shire of Nillumbik, and encourage slower, safer speeds within Eltham;
  • Reclaiming and revegetating the underutilised roadside land areas for public open space;
  • Acknowledging the original owners of the land; and
  • Expressing the character and history of the area.

The Draft Conceptual Master Plan

The draft conceptual master plan includes the removal of dead, hazardous and non-indigenous trees, revegetation of the area with indigenous species, and the addition of walking paths, seating and signage; creating an overall sense of arrival into, and departure from, Eltham at its Southern Gateway, while opening up public open space for all the community to enjoy.

The design aims to be in keeping with the urban design in the surrounding area, and align with the priorities of Council, the Victorian Government and the community.

A feature will be a key piece of public art to be located on the northern side of Main Road, where traffic merges into one lane, on entering into Eltham.

The project includes sub areas, designated as : “A”, “B-North”, “B-South”, “C-North” and “C-South”. These are shown in the map below (Courtesy; http://www.southerngatewayrenewal.org).



Area A is bordered by the Diamond Creek Trail to the north, the Diamond Creek to the east, the Eltham Park drain to the south, and the newly constructed Eltham Lower Park car park to the west. The area is currently generally unused, and the vegetation is largely non-indigenous, for example pine trees, and elms, and weed species in the understorey.

Area A Enhancement of Area A plans to focus on extensive replanting with indigenous vegetation. It is intended to be the major emphasis of the landscaping works, respecting the feedback received from the previous survey. A looped pathway is proposed, commencing near the new car park, allowing for enjoyment of the area, and is planned to be constructed of gravel and boardwalks constructed of timber recycled from the pine trees. The conceptual design features acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land, with a proposed Wurundjeri edible/useful garden with informative signage, and proposes rest areas, with a meeting circle, seating, a spiral pathway, and other quiet areas around the path.

The northern portion of Area B is proposed to complement the existing landscape and flat-topped grassed area with subtle embankment landscaping, with a cluster of trees with black trunks in the background, and a row of trees providing screening along the border with the residential property. This will provide a visual of “avenue” planting leading into Eltham.

The flat-topped grassed area is proposed to be left in its current state and can be location of a potential future enhancement.

The southern portion of Area B is proposed to be planted and landscaped in a similar manner, with low lying indigenous planting and clusters of trees in the background, also enhancing the visual of “avenue” planting leading into Eltham.

Area C – North, and Area C - South, are linear, along the north and south of Main Road.

Area C – North, along Main Road on the left side entering Eltham, lends itself naturally to embellishments in a linear form, and the proposed landscape plan offers clusters of trees with white trunks planted along this area, enhancing the visual of “avenue” planting leading into Eltham. Area C - North also offers the most suitable location for an art piece, and the conceptual design proposes a sculpture be located in the northern most portion of the site. The area designated for a future sculpture is bordered by Main Road to the east, a residential driveway to the south, and the pathway leading to Barak Bushland Reserve to the north and west.

Area C – South is a narrower nature-strip. It is proposed to retain existing trees and complement these with clusters of low-lying indigenous plants, and potentially some white trunked trees where practical.

Tree Removal

Tree Removal

As part of the rehabilitation of the area, a number of trees that are dead, hazardous or are in poor health will be removed.

All trees within the project area, a total of 226, have been assessed by an independent arborist for tree health, structural issues, risk and hazards. Trees were also assessed for origin, species type, and likely end of life.

Older and larger trees are more likely to drop branches, or cause root conflicts beneath the surface.

A number of trees, particularly in Area “A”, are pine trees planted decades ago that are now at or nearing end of life.

Of the 226 trees, 171 or 76 per cent, were assessed as healthy, and will be retained.

Twenty-two of the trees require some pruning.

Thirty three trees, or 15 per cent, have been identified as requiring removal for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the tree is dead;
  • the tree health is ‘poor’ or ‘fair’, and tree is non-indigenous,
  • the tree is a ‘weed’ to the natural environment of Area ‘A’, bordering the Diamond Creek, or
  • the tree will provide significant future risk if left in place.

The map below identifies the 226 trees (yellow dots) that were independently assessed as part of the project.


Public artwork

Public artwork

The artwork will respond to the Nillumbik Shire Public Art Policy, community feedback and the survey conducted by Vicki Ward. The artwork will contribute to enhancing public space and community experience in Nillumbik, reflecting aspects of the area’s unique heritage, attributes of local neighbourhoods and aspirations of its communities through a diversity of contemporary art forms. Artwork will consist of a major piece of sculpture, to be located in Area C – North, but opportunities exist for artwork in the seating, remnant tree stumps and fencing all proposed in Area A.

The public artwork is intended to create a “sense of arrival” to Eltham and Nillumbik Shire, acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people, reflect the identity, character and history of the local community, interpret the landscape and surroundings of the site.

The major artwork piece is intended to convey strong visual impact and presence, be viewable from all directions with the front (south facing) targeting commuting traffic in the direction of Eltham, while the back (north facing) viewed by pedestrians using the pathway.

Share your thoughts on the conceptual master plan

Feedback has now closed