Laneways get green facelift

By Sunny Liu

One of the CBD’s oldest but most neglected laneways, Coromandel Place, is receiving a gradual green facelift. 

Coromandel Place is the first of the four pilot laneways selected in the City of Melbourne’s $1.8 million Green Your Laneway project, which will see CBD laneways transformed into lush street gardens.

A dead-end laneway tucked off Little Collins St and between Exhibition and Russell streets, Coromandel Place was previously a quiet and industrialised city spot that only nearby workers and residents would frequent.

Some 14 planter boxes of Boston Ivy and Creeping Fig were installed in front of its western wall in July. Climbing plants are expected to cover the walls in the next five years.

The bluestone kerbing and tarmac was dug out and replaced with new soil and underground irrigation systems to help the new plants grow.

Local street artist Ghostpatrol has created a two-storey mural at the northern end and Al Stark has painted the wall of the Uniting Church, where greenery cannot be planted due to underground services and traffic requirements.

Businesses in Coromandel Place have welcomed the laneway’s green revamp.

Vladimir Bereza and Sam Gudge, baristas at the Oli & Levi cafe at 20 Coromandel Place, said the program could attract more visitors to the laneway.

“People tend to walk past Coromandel Place because there’s not much to see. But the plants will bring more attention to the laneway,” Mr Bereza said.

“Greenery helps catch people’s eyes amongst the concrete jungle.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle also said the project could boost surrounding businesses and generate environmental benefits.

“The residents and business owners in Coromandel Place supported this rejuvenation to help entice people to this hidden part of the city,” he said.

“There are more than 200 lanes in our central city and they offer a great opportunity for renewal. We can transform these laneways with plants and trees to help cool the city, improve air quality and clean stormwater.”

The next laneways to be transformed as part of Green Your Laneway are Guildford Lane, Meyers Place and Katherine Place which, like Coromandel Place, were selected from more than 800 public nominations and consultations with engineers, sustainability professionals, place-makers and landscape architects.

The transformation of Guildford Lane includes a seven-square-metre green roof.

The City of Melbourne has also initiated the $1.2 million Urban Forest Fund that provides funding to turn building rooftops into high-rise gardens, with additional contributions from the private sector.

For more information about Green Your Laneway, visit participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/greenlaneways

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