Ugly blocks set to go by year’s end

By David Schout

Eyesore concrete blocks at five CBD locations are set to be replaced by bollards, planter boxes and street furniture by the end of this year.

Installed as a temporary measure by Premier Daniel Andrews in mid-2017 in response to the Bourke St tragedy earlier that year, the government pledged to replace them with “less imposing” structures.

But almost two years later, most of the blocks remain in place at pedestrian hotspots throughout the CBD.

A government spokesperson informed CBD News that the new structures would be in place by the end of the year.

“Priority long-term security measures are on track to be rolled out at nine city locations in 2019,” the spokesperson said.

“Works to replace the concrete blocks and water-filled barriers with measures appropriate for each site are underway – these include bollards, barriers, planter boxes and street furniture.”

While bollards outside Flinders Street Station have been replaced with slicker steel structures, works are still yet to be completed at the following locations:

Bourke Street Mall;

Federation Square;

State Library of Victoria;

Queen Victoria Market; and

Southern Cross Station.

The temporary bollards have been criticised as aesthetic blots by members of the public, and were even draped in bright fabrics by some guerrilla artists during a social media campaign in 2017.

The campaign, dubbed #bollart, has since died down. Architects have also criticised the impact barriers as making people feel uneasy.

The proposed barriers form part of the state government’s wider $50 million CBD security upgrade project, which also includes upgraded security cameras and a new public address system. It’s not yet clear which locations will be fitted first with the new bollards.

Updates however can be found at vic.gov.au/melbourne-security-upgrades

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