The City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government plans to plant 150,000 trees, shrubs and grasses in an ambitious project to green the city and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the revegetation project will create habitat, support biodiversity and create jobs. “We will provide jobs to 64 people who would otherwise be unemployed as a result of COVID-19. They will work for six months on the largest revegetation project we have ever undertaken,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We have always appreciated the importance of our parks and gardens to our city and this has been even more evident during the pandemic. They provide space for people to safely exercise and enjoy some fresh air during lockdown.
“We will plant a staggering 116,000 tube stocks of native grasses and wildflowers and 30,000 shrubs. This includes native wildflowers such as Tufted Bluebells and Blushing Bindweed, and grasses such as Kangaroo Grass and Common Wallaby Grass.
“We will plant 1000 semi-advanced trees and 3000 tube stock trees. This includes indigenous species such as River Red Gum, Golden Wattle, Coastal Banksia and Yarra Gum – a near threatened species in Victoria. This will be a marvellous investment in a healthier, greener city for coming generations.”
The ‘Greening the City’ project is a partnership between City of Melbourne, CityWide and the Victorian Government and will be funded through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative.
Environment portfolio Chair Councillor Cathy Oke said the project will benefit the community, support biodiversity and help reduce the urban heat island effect.
“Planting trees is one of the most effective and simple ways to respond to the climate emergency,” Cr Oke said. “While we respond to COVID-19, we haven’t stopped taking climate action. As these new trees grow, they will increase our city’s canopy coverage and help reduce the urban heat island effect by creating more shade.
“This project will create 24,000m² of understorey habitat, increasing understorey vegetation in the city by six percent, in a significant step towards our goal to increase understorey cover by 20 percent by 2027.
“The 150,000 native plants and trees will provide crucial habitat for our 276 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs – as well as more than 1500 species of insects.”
Locations for the planting will be confirmed shortly and may include important nature reserves such as Royal Park, the Inner Circle Railway Corridor, Dynon Road corridor, Lorimer Street and Oak Street.
The work will begin in June 2020 with the selection and preparation of sites, followed by planting activity and works to protect the trees and plants from pests and diseases as they grow.
This project is in addition to City of Melbourne’s $1.8 million annual investment in planting 3000 semi-advanced trees each year. “This will make a big contribution towards our target of 40 percent tree canopy cover on public land by 2040,” Cr Oke said.
In the coming weeks, crews working on the annual program will plant 94 trees on the Maribyrnong River bike path, 14 trees in Fitzroy Gardens to re-establish the historic Hotham Walk Avenue and plant 80 new trees at Royal Park Golf Course.
The City of Melbourne has previously participated in the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative to provide 500 new cleaning roles servicing municipalities in inner Melbourne through a partnership with Spotless and Citywide.
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