State government overrules ‘reckless’ council to save Geelong green spine

The Victorian government has moved to protect the award-winning Geelong Green Spine from the local council’s wrecking ball.

It is preparing to declare Mercer and Garden streets a designated State Road Project and take over control from the council, under Victoria’s Road Management Act.

The state government has instructed the council not to undertake any work that is not in line with the Malop Street Green Spine project, designed by Outlines Landscape Architecture. The first stage of the project was completed in 2018 and won a Landscape Architecture Award for Civic Landscape at the National Landscape Architecture Awards in October 2019.

The project comprised the creation of a new eight-metre-wide botanic walk on the south side of the street and the planting of trees on the north side of the street. New separated bike lanes were also installed on the road in each direction, replacing turning lanes and some on-street parking. The $8 million project was the first stage in a larger green spine project, and received $4.7 million in funding from the state government.

The government’s move follows the council’s decision to remove the bike lanes and reinstate the turning lanes at a cost of $2 million.

The government will continue with the next stages of the green spine project and detailed design is underway.

“I won’t stand by and watch a reckless council take a wrecking ball to our beautiful Green Spine – spending $2 million ripping up work already done in Malop Street is a backwards step and waste of money,” said Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville.

“The Green Spine is an important part of the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan and a fundamental part of securing the economic success of our city.”

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