Melbourne Water partnered with Melton City Council, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning  and Western Water to naturalise a section of Arnolds Creek in Melton. The project is a trial site for Melbourne Water’s new program of works titled ‘Reimagining Your Creek.’ Alluvium teamed with REALMstudios to design the site from concept through to detailed design.

This program aims to convert concrete/grassed channels and pipes to a more naturalised waterway, including development of the surrounding parkland with a strong focus on urban design to showcase the potential for creating places where blue (waterways) meets green (parklands). The program aim is to naturalise 5km of concrete waterways across the Port Phillip and Westernport region by 2021 and the lessons learned at this site can be applied to deliver additional waterway naturalisation projects throughout Melbourne and nationally.

The key urban design objectives for the naturalisation project were:

  • Improve the quality of open space along the Cambrian Way Drain and Arnolds Creek Western Branch
  • Introduce a greater diversity of native plant species
  • Enhance amenity at the site through landscaping and the redesign and construction of the waterway
  • Improve pedestrian and cycling connectivity and accessibility opportunities between Arnolds Creek and surrounding amenities
  • Deliver innovative urban and landscape design elements throughout the creek corridor that encourages areas of open space for active and passive recreation
  • Improve opportunities for the community to access local vegetated areas that provide thermal comfort through shade and cooling.

This was an iterative design process whereby feedback was incorporated and presented back to community for  comment.  The urban design analysis included the site context, constraints, social context, and connectivity and open space analysis.e the vision for the site

The naturalisation of this waterway will provide the local community with ahigh-quality park with landscaping features which range from formal structures, seating and viewing platforms to steppingstones and rocks in by the water’s edge to allow people to engage with the environment.