Brimbank Council is calling for urgent intervention from the State Government to find a solution to deliver the Upper Stony Creek Transformation Project in Sunshine North.
The project, located on Melbourne Water land, brought together all levels of government alongside private enterprise to rehabilitate a 1.2 kilometre section of Upper Stony Creek from the existing concrete drain, back to a natural state.
Mayor of Brimbank, Cr Lucinda Congreve said works at the site had now come to a standstill after project costs had blown out.
“As with many projects in Brimbank, shortly after breaking ground it was discovered that the site was contaminated.
“While there were contingencies in the budget for this, the extent of the contamination was more than expected.
“The cost of remediation works means the original budget has been exhausted and works onsite have now stopped.
“If the funding required to remediate the site cannot be found, we’ve been informed the contract will be cancelled and the funding partners are walking away.
“What was once a beacon of hope for the west – a transformational project that was destined to be a first in the Southern Hemisphere – is fast becoming an issue of environmental injustice for the west,” the Mayor said.
The realisation of the project would create a natural cool zone for the community in times of heatwave – a refuge for some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable communities who disproportionally feel the impact of climate change and are particularly vulnerable to heat.
“Our community needs this project to be completed, and to do this more funding is needed,” Mayor Congreve said.
“Brimbank contributes millions of dollars in levy fees to the Sustainability Fund, we carry the burden of landfill and toxic waste issues and get little back in support for environmental projects. We need to finish the job at Stony Creek.
“This is about more than simply rehabilitating a waterway. This is about the west and its people. It’s about cleaning up the historic endemic waste issues that continue to impact on our community.
“To Melbourne Water and the State Government we say – you can’t walk away now. Let’s finish the job we’ve started.”
The original project budget for the Upper Stony Creek Transformation Project was $11.3 million. Project partners include: the Federal Government (funding through the National Stronger Regions Fund); Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Melbourne Water; Green Fleet; City West Water; Development Victoria; and Brimbank City Council.