A new plan for Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market renewal project is being developed to improve market infrastructure and car parking while minimising disruption and preserving the market’s heritage.
The City of Melbourne will consider the plan, which will include additional car parking, improved safety and amenities, trader storage, centralised waste and recycling facilities and 1.5 hectares of new open public space.
A 40-member People’s Panel and the 2015 Master Plan have helped set the direction for the delivery of the infrastructure, with the panel setting a goal to deliver 1000 car parks for market customers.
The option being considered by councillors includes a $19 million investment to provide 500 customer car parks on a future Southern Development Site on Franklin Street, with another 500 delivered as part of the Munro development in 2021.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council has worked with traders, shoppers, residents, the State Government, Heritage Victoria and the wider community to help find a way to create a thriving open-air market for future generations.
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“Under the recommended option to be considered, $6 million will be invested to create cool and dry storage at fruit and vegetable trader’s stalls where it’s most convenient. The storage would be designed following extensive consultation with traders to get the designs right,” Capp said.
“The plan for staged renewal would minimise disruption to traders and the market’s heritage. We’re progressing work to restore the heritage sheds along with plans to give traders the facilities they need to make it easier to trade at the market.
“Under the plan, once the new car parks are complete, the existing asphalt carpark will become a 1.5-hectare public open space called Market Square,” she said.
The council plans to prepare a design brief to create Melbourne’s largest new open space to complement the market and provide an area for events and community festivals.
Heritage Victoria rejected an earlier design for the infrastructure that required digging under the heritage listed sheds.
“While this was disappointing, we want to move on for the benefit of traders and find a design that addresses the challenges facing the market while maintaining its heritage,” Capp said.
“Other than the areas impacted by Heritage Victoria’s decision, there are many components of the original business case and renewal plan either underway or about to begin. The next step would be to do further design and costings to consider storage and waste facilities in Queen Street.”
Queen Victoria Market CEO Stan Liacos said the delivery of infrastructure and car parking is vital to traders and customers.
“It’s a much loved asset but investment is needed for the market to thrive. Traders want renewal to deliver things like power, running water, storage, refrigeration and adequate facilities for food waste and general rubbish,” Liacos said.
“We need a design that causes the least disruption to day-to-day market operations during construction and I’m confident this option delivers this.”
SGS Economics and Planning found the option cost the least to be implemented and was the only option likely to pay for itself financially.
The cost estimate for the proposed option was assessed and would fit within the previously announced budget of $250 million, including money already spent on restoration and the trader support program.