Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville today announced plans to expand and develop the iconic Westgate Park as part of its 30th birthday celebrations.
Originally a salt marsh, Westgate Park was mined for sand in the 1930s and later became a rubbish tip. It was made a park as part of Victoria’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 1984 and officially opened a year later.
Since then the park has become a wildlife haven, providing refuge for dozens of bird species including several species of honeyeaters and parrots, teals, wrens, dotterels, stilts, moorhens and swans.
The park is also famous for its lake sometimes turning pink in summer – a harmless but visually striking phenomenon caused by high salt concentration, hot weather and lack of rainfall.
Minister Neville paid tribute to the Friends of Westgate Park as the driving force in the park’s transformation over the past three decades.
For their efforts in revegetating and caring for the park, the Friends of Westgate Park won the Victoria Urban Landcare Award in 2009 and a year later received the National Urban Landcare Award.
Minister Neville announced a $2.5 million boost for Westgate Park and the addition of three adjacent parcels of land currently part of the Port of Melbourne.
The extra land and funding will be provided subject to the successful passage of the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Bill 2015 through Parliament.
This will create extra open space for public enjoyment and wildlife habitat, while the funding will enable Parks Victoria and the Friends of Westgate Park to deliver a range of improvements and a new entrance.
The expansion will also formalise public access from the park to the Yarra River as two of the new parcels of land adjoin the river.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville
“We are currently working hard to ensure this icon has a strong future with a master plan being developed to set a 20 to 30 year vision to guide the park through the next stage of its history.”
“What the Friends of Westgate Park has achieved here is extraordinary and subject to passing the Port Lease Legislation next week, the park’s expansion and $2.5 million funding boost will now help to write the next chapter in its 30-year history.”
“Enlarging the park and investing in its future will improve its recreational values while enhancing the crucial role it plays as a haven to dozens of bird species and other wildlife.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Albert Park Martin Foley
“Since its opening in 1985 Westgate Park has become a sanctuary in the heart of industrial Melbourne and an icon of urban conservation largely thanks to the sheer dedication and passion of volunteers.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021