TreeTops Commercial Development

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Parks Victoria are wanting to alienate 4 hectares of Yarra Flats Park for a commercial development called “Treetops” to proceed right over the top of the Banksia Billabong.

This has been rejected by the Wurundjeri as the location is an important cultural area for them. Banyule Council has abandoned the planning amendment that would be required for the proposal to go ahead.

The development is an adventure activity involving ropes and zip lines suspended from trees.

It requires an amendment of the planning scheme covering the Northern section of Yarra Flats Park.

The Wurundjeri have decided that the proposal should not proceed as it is on culturally sensitive land for them. Banyule Council have decided to abandon the planning scheme amendment due to this opposition of the Wurundjeri.

The Friends of Yarra Flats Park have a number of serious concerns that we see outweigh any possible benefits of the proposal.

Loss of amenity for the local community 

  • We are very concerned about the erosion of public spaces that are used for relaxation and passive recreation of the local community.
  • This park is recognised as unique for its semi-rural/natural character, which is highly valued by the community and we do not want to see this damaged.
  • A well-funded attractive nature reserve would be a far better alternative use of the area.
  • Commercial imperatives can easily override public amenity and conservation requirements.

Environmental issues

  • The significant old remnant River Red Gums in the site are some of the oldest trees in the northern section of the park.These trees have scarce vital hollows that birds and other wildlife use to nest, which this activity will severely impact.
  • Melbourne Water is proposing to divert stormwater to re-water The Annulus and Banksia billabongs. This proposal over the top of the Banksia Billabong will reduce the value of this rehabilitation.

Indigenous issue

  • The Treetops area is an important location for the Wurundjeri people who have expressed their opposition to the proposal.

Safety issues

  • Treetops will put the lives and health of children at the mercy of River Red Gums that we have significant safety concerns about.
  • Regularly River Red Gums in the park drop large branches and recently two apparently healthy ones have completely failed and fallen over only 400m from the treetops site. 

Further considerations

  • Commercial use and development will bring increased traffic and will most likely lead to more cars and buses using The Boulevard and Glenard Drive.
  • The toilet block will be upgraded and various environmental improvements made. A failure to carry out maintenance works by a public authority cannot be used as justification for commercial use of public space.
  • The proposal has the stated goal of improving the community’s appreciation of the natural environment, however, it is basically a ‘fun and adventure park’. There are much better ways to do this.
  • This activity could be erected in forest in numerous less sensitive locations around Melbourne. It should not be installed into the small amount of precious remaining inner Melbourne parkland.
  • There has been no proper public consultation about the proposal up until now when it is being presented as a done deal. The community needs to have a serious say in their local park management.
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