Hoarding plan stalled

A 2017 City of Melbourne plan to beautify hoardings is still waiting to be implemented amid the city’s construction boom.

The two-year trial was announced by council in June 2017 and was meant to mandate council-commissioned artwork on any hoarding in place for more than 12 weeks on council-managed land. 

$50,000 has been allocated to the project since 2017. Design processes and minimum standards were meant to establish a low-cost method to “beautify” the structures. 

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said the delay was due to a “longer than anticipated” consultation process with the property and construction industry and other stakeholders.

They said council anticipated the two-year pilot trial to be implemented by the end of 2019.

“We have been taking a collaborative approach with the property and construction industry since we initiated the project and have been working closely with a number of stakeholders,” the spokesperson said.

The original plan was meant to alleviate visual clutter and general appearance in the city, where masses of hoarding accompany a boom in construction and renovation projects. 

Heritage advocates and city planners had expressed concern over the city’s appearance, favouring creative approaches to hoarding and construction as adopted throughout Europe.

Of particular concern were heritage buildings intrinsic to the CBD’s history and aesthetic that were covered in hoarding for long periods of time when development and restoration occurred.

President of CBD residents’ group East Enders Jenny Eltham complained this month that the city was full of unsightly hoarding.

She said the corner of Collins and William streets were a particularly bad example. Several developments have covered the intersection in hoarding various directions. 

This includes some of Melbourne’s most valued heritage buildings. 

The 19th century Olderfleet Building is one example at the intersection. The building has been covered since last year when Mirvac started construction on its 38-story Mirvac Olderfleet development.

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