Design guidelines for the creek are a priority for the collaborators. Design guidelines can be applied at two scales. At a high level, to influence private land development, via the planning system, and protect public land. And at a more detailed level, through a consistent approach to built structures in the public realm.
Development and implementation of design guidelines need a collaborative approach – where multiple land use managers can work to a common vision. Individual councils or government authorities working on these topics is not as efficient as a combined approach.
Planning policy design guidelines can influence outcomes such as:
- Protecting environmental and landscape values
- Floodplain management
- Interface between private and public realm
- Conservation of places of heritage
- Protection of major open space corridors
- Reducing the impact of stormwater on waterbodies
Public realm design guidelines can lead to outcomes such as:
- Consistent signage / lighting / facilities that give a sense of being in one catchment/corridor – rather than being on several separate councils and authorities’ land
- Coordinated improvements to walking and cycling networks, bridges and crossings
- Creating environments that are safe and attractive
- Improving connectivity - of the catchment, biolinks and habitat, spaces, and social connectivity.
- Creating a cohesive character and identity along the creek – through a linear park and landscape character
- Honouring the waterway and the history and culture associated with it.
To facilitate connectivity and sense of cohesive character and identity along the creek corridor, the Trails, Transport and Connectivity Working Group, will draft a document that provides guidelines relating to access, facilities, signage, landscape character, lighting and cultural heritage. The Working Group acknowledges that the main Moonee Ponds Creek Trail shared user path and the less formal tracks are often on the opposite banks and each need end to end connectivity improvements, gap filling, and linkages to other active transport routes. There are significant health benefits from activating public open space with increased community use and that is encouraged by the availability of circuit routes, facilities, art, signage and lighting. We also need to facilitate peaceful coexistence of commuter and sporting cyclists with slower riders, pedestrians and dog walkers. The intention is that the guidelines created would be for the four councils, Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria, as the main public realm managers, to adopt and follow. The intent is to create broad guidelines, not specific detailed design, which is already available in each organisation.
To facilitate planning system changes, the Planning Working Group will work through the Waterways of the West Ministerial Advisory Committee in the first instance, to put forward a case for planning system support for the Collaborators to have more regulatory tools at their disposal. The group has identified that the 2010 Maribyrnong River Valley design guidelines are a model for what could be created for the Moonee Ponds waterway corridor, but with greater planning tools available to enforce the vision outlined.