West Footscray’s Lae Street nursery plans

Bernadette Thomas at the currently fenced-off site. (Damjan Janevski) 244758_01

A West Footscray site has been informally dubbed Stony Creek Commons as Maribyrnong council prepares to open it up for community use.

Councillors this month voted to open up the Lae Street nursery, which is vacant but used by the council for storage of plants and other items.

The move forms part of the council’s Stony Creek Future Directions Plan 2020, adopted by the council in February.

This plan proposes the expansion of McDonald Reserve by removing existing chain wire fencing and developing basic parklands with grass and trees for kick-about space.

McDonald Reserve is a medium-sized neighbourhood open space with a playground and connection to Stony Creek.

Several community groups and residents have come forward with ideas for developing the adjoining site as an environmental centre.

Ideas put forward include developing it into a community garden, flora and fauna refuge such as a frog bog, an urban forest and educational space.

Cr Bernadette Thomas, who moved the motion at the last ordinary council meeting, said Stony Creek Commons was the working name for the site.

“It presents council with a great opportunity to do something perhaps a little different, to really invite the community in to see what the site can be used for,” she said.

“There’s already been a lot of interest from the community and I thank the Friends of Stony Creek for kickstarting discussion about what could happen at the site.

“Since then there’s been interest from Permaculture Out West, from Sustain, some of the … people who are at community garden sites and local residents who live in Lae and Waratah streets that sit on either side of the space.

“We really do want to open this site up to the community – it’s for community use – and have the community lead the conversation about the future of the site.”