Background

As part of the North East Link Project, $5.5 million in State Government funding has been allocated to design and construct a Town Square in the heart of the Watsonia Shopping Centre.

In 2014 we worked with the local community and stakeholders to create the Picture Watsonia Vision, which described the community’s aspirations for the centre over the next 35 years and detailed several opportunities including the creation of an active and vibrant town square.

This was further supported by the development of the Watsonia Neighbourhood Concept Plan in 2019, a partnership between Council and the State Government to respond to the impacts and opportunities associated with the North East Link Project.

We know that Watsonia will be significantly impacted over the next few years, but with all the planned changes and this significant investment, we are excited by the opportunity to create an even better place for people to shop and enjoy.

Now that we have secured funding to help achieve the community’s aspirations, it’s time to continue planning for the Watsonia Town Square.

View the analysis report which has been developed to detail the stages of the project through to concept designs options for the site.

To stay up to date on this project, click on the 'follow' button at the top of this page.

Concept Designs

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

The location for the square is yet to be finalised but will be in the vicinity of the library and Watsonia Road, Morwell Avenue and Ibbotson Street intersection under the transmission. The community input we receive will help set the ultimate design .

Consultation is currently open and is scheduled to close on 3 December 2021. Please follow the project page to receive ongoing updates regarding future stages.

Four different concept design options have been prepared to gauge which traffic treatments and features are supported by the community. The feedback received during the consultation period will be used to generate a preferred concept design option with the components that are most supported by the community.

GroupGSA is an Australian based company that has extensive experience in urban design and landscape architecture and have delivered a range of similar streetscape and town square projects throughout Australia.

At Council’s ordinary meeting on 30 August 2021, it resolved in part that Council prepare an additional monopole concept option. This concept option would involve the removal of the lattice towers near the library and the installation of slimline monopole.

Funding for the detailed designs and construction of the monopoles ($4.98m) is not available, however Council will continue to advocate to the Victorian Government to commit to funding this option if there is strong community support. The Victorian Government would need to confirm their funding support for this option by the end of January 2022, to avoid future project delays.

The removal of the lattice towers would free up at least 160 square meters of useable space outside of the library. It is envisaged that this would improve the visual impact. The additional land could also be used to facilitate additional town square features and enable future upgrades in the railway easement including service improvements (e.g. railway station upgrade, bus interchange etc) and/or commercial and development opportunities along the eastern side of Watsonia Road.

There are a range of reasons why the Morwell Avenue location is the preferred including the spacing between the existing towers; access considerations, land ownership and underground services.

Given that the construction will involve large cranes, stringing equipment and heavy construction plant, it will be challenging to construct. It is anticipated that there will be additional disruption during the construction period including the closure of the Morwell Avenue car park area during the monopole construction period.

In terms of maintenance monopoles preclude any live line works, meaning power outages would need to be organized for future maintenance works.

Yes, the monopole option will expand the project delivery timeframes by several months

Unfortunately running the transmission lines underground is not feasible. The cables would need to be buried in large diameter conduits which would exceed the easement limits. The conduits would require significant excavation between the new towers in Frensham Reserve and the towers near the Greenwood Drive/ Morwell Avenue intersection. Furthermore the excavation works would cut through the North East Link project along Greensborough Road, Watsonia Train station and impact on multiple underground services around the town square precinct. Even if Council was to proceed with this option, it’s cost prohibitive and the permit application process would take years with approval unlikely.

We are working closely with AusNet Services to ensure that the design options meet their requirements. While general conclusions haven’t established a relationship between magnetic fields and adverse health effects, we will continue to monitor the available guidance. Current guidance can be found on the Arpansa website or the AusNet Services website

Yes, Council has committed funding to design the toilets as part of the design phase of the project. The construction of the toilets will also need to be funded by Council and considered as part of Council’s 2022/23 budget process.

View the concept design.

Yes, they are available at the Watsonia Library, Watsonia Neighbourhood House and the Anglican Church. You can also contact Council to request copies.

Check this page regularly to be kept up to date. You can also click on the follow button at the top of the project page to receive update notifications.

Engagement

Engagement stages

Help shape the new Watsonia Town Square. Community consultation on the concept design options is now open.

There are 2 key opportunities for you to get involved.

We have formed a Community Reference Group to guide the project through the design process so far. This group is comprised of key stakeholders, including residents, traders, visitors and community groups.

You can influence the look and function of the Watsonia Town Square by providing feedback on four concept design options. You are also invited to an online information session where the options will be presented, and your questions can be answered.

The feedback we receive during the consultation period will be used to generate a preferred design option, inclusive of the features that are most loved by the community.

Design principles

Guiding principles

The initial stage of consultation with the community reference group has led to the formation of design principles which will guide the development of several concept design options.

  • Traffic and Parking

    Efficient and integrated traffic treatments and parking that reinforces Watsonia's place value.

  • Access

    Ensure pedestrian and cyclist priority, safety and inclusive accessibility and experience for users of all abilities.

  • Economic Growth

    Promote economic growth using unique and innovative designs that encourage increased footfall and patronage of local businesses.

  • Local Identity

    Create a civic and cultural heart that is welcoming and memorable. Highlight and embrace existing sites, strengths and attractions.

  • Amenities

    Provide better and safer amenities that are respected and valued by the community.

  • Flexible Spaces

    Explore opportunities to create additional public spaces and flexible and multi-use areas. Potential integration of monopoles.

  • Community

    Encourage community congregation and activity through further development of Watsonia's local identity and creating innovative spaces.

  • Sustainability

    Enhance and protect surrounding ecology with sustainable practices and greening.

* Images are for illustrative purposes only and are not the property of Banyule Council.

CRG

Community Reference Group

An Expression of Interest process was carried out to recruit community members for the Watsonia Town Square Community Reference Group (WTSCRG).

Fifteen places have been filled, representing a broad cross section of the community.

Membership categories include:

  • Watsonia Traders Association
  • Watsonia RSL
  • Watsonia business person
  • Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service
  • Watsonia Neighbourhood House
  • Local church
  • Local interest group
  • Local property owner
  • Local resident
  • Local young person (under 25 years of age)

The Community Reference Group will meet 4 – 6 times during the project and meetings will be chaired by Cr. Mark Di Pasquale.