VICTORIAN Public Minister Terry Mulder last week called on Brunswick residents, traders and commuters to have their say in creating an exciting vision for revitalising the Jewell Station precinct, located in Melbourne's inner-north.
Mr Mulder said VicTrack is investigating the potential to transform the Jewell Station precinct, with improvements to the station and surrounding land to be funded through proposed residential, office and retail developments.
"While the Jewell Station precinct is of significant heritage value, the station surrounds are rundown, with a large derelict building and messy access for commuters, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles," Mr Mulder said.
"This is a fact finding mission to find out what the community thinks of Jewell Station and how the station and surrounding area could be better used by local people and transformed as part of a wider development."
Mr Mulder said depending on the commercial response, the proposed development of the precinct could include restoration works to the heritage station, an enhanced public open area and a new commercial and residential development adjacent to the eastern side of the station.
Mr Mulder said any proposed public transport improvements depended on taking advantage of opportunities to develop surrounding rail land for residential, office and retail uses.
"The Coalition Government believes that, like at Jewell, there are fantastic opportunities across the metropolitan area to undertake projects with the private sector to provide real benefits for commuters and communities without taxpayers footing the bill," Mr Mulder said.
Community engagement specialist Village Well will undertake a range of community engagement and consultation activities, the results of which will be considered by VicTrack before it lodges a planning application with Moreland City Council, expected to be in the second half of 2012.
The announcement was welcomed by the Committee for Melbourne, who called it a fantastic opportunity for business, community and government to collaborate on urban renewal.
The Committee said it believes private sector investment in developments can ease stress on tax payers and help government deliver essential infrastructure upgrades in tough economic times.
Acting Chief Executive Officer, Andrea Gaffney, said the revitalisation of Melbourne's inner suburbs is a sensible way to accommodate population growth, and collaborations between business, government and the community are a crucial way forward.
"This announcement shows that the Victorian Government is thinking laterally about Melbourne's future growth, and the role private sector and community can play in setting an agreed vision," Ms Gaffney said.
"Improvements to the safety and amenity of Melbourne's railway stations are long overdue, and if private sector investment can be leveraged to bring forward community benefit, then it's a good proposition. But the community must be consulted every step of the way."
Ms Gaffney also said that if successful, the transformation of the Jewell Station Precinct should be replicated to help deliver upgrades to other critical station precincts across Melbourne.
More information is available from the VicTrack website at <http://www.victrack.com.au/>.