The Altona Central Sports Precinct is an area of about 141.6 hectares, comprising Grant Reserve, G. Nevitt Reserve, H.C. Kim Reserve, Fell Reserve, Cherry Lake and Cherry Lake Reserve. These reserves and the land south of Cherry Lake are managed by Hobsons Bay City Council while Melbourne Water manages the land north of Cherry Lake.

This precinct is a major sport and recreation site in Hobsons Bay, being home to some 11 sport and recreation groups, a monthly market and an annual community festival. In consultations with local community groups, Hobsons Bay City Council has come up with a proposed blueprint to develop this precinct for the next 20 years. The draft plans can be downloaded from the Council’s webpage. The hardcopy can be viewed at Hobsons Bay Civic Centre and Altona Library. This plan is open to public feedback until Friday 29th July 2011.

I have prepared an embedded map below, which shows a synopsis of the proposed developments. Click here to view a larger map, with an itemized list on a left panel. Click each icon to read the project details and timeline. Meaningful symbols are used for the icons e.g. a walking man to show new walk paths, a tree for tree-planting sites and a lamp-post to indicate proposed lighting.

Note: There are some bugs in scribblemaps, which rendered the text formatting and bulleting missing/different from the parent Google Maps version.

View Larger Map

General improvements applicable to various areas within the Precinct include:

  • Tree planting and landscaping (represented by green patches in the above map).
  • Security and timed lighting.
  • New walk paths and connections between trails/reserves (shown as yellow dotted lines).
  • Formalizing and adding more car parking spaces.
  • Distance markers and interpretive signage on wildlife, vegetation and history, along the Cherry Lake circuit path.
  • Safety barriers and adding/upgrading fencing.
  • Road improvement.

The projects are divided into 3 implementation phases: short-term (implemented within 1-4 years), medium-term (4-10 years) and long-term (11-20 years). Within each phase, each project is further rated as a first, second or third priority.

Those projects accorded higher priorities are mainly those intended to address the specific needs of the various sports clubs such as the upgrading of sports facilities, including sports grounds, buildings (club-houses/pavilions/halls) and spectator seating.

What I find more exciting however are those proposals that are accorded lower priorities, presumably because they are more dispensable. These include:

  • a cafe at Cherry Lake.
  • a jetty and ramp for non-powered boats.
  • a new wetland (no timeline has been provided in this plan).
  • a viewing platform on top of mound/levee wall, overlooking Cherry Lake (apparently my thoughts were not unique – see post).
  • two granitic sand running tracks, on the northern and southern bank of Cherry Lake, with fitness stations along the track for the one on the southern side (represented as red dotted lines in the map above).
  • 5 recreational areas/playgrounds – 3 new ones (at Millers Street, end of Sugargum Drive and corner of Sugargum Drive/Bluegum Drive), 2 upgraded ones (at Fresno Street and the current playground).

I could not help wishing that these improvements will be brought forward much earlier. 11-20 years is after all a very long waiting time. I suppose that these projects need to be prioritized, based on budgetary constraints. If a new train line is long overdue in Melbourne, this plan represents visions. The incremental improvements in Altona will be considered achievements and something to be proud of.

Adding my wishlist items:

  • Altona Beach has the Seaborn sculpture, Altona Coastal Park has the “Requiem of the Champions” sculpture, Truganina Park has the Time Beacon and Pier Street has its murals. As the gateway to Altona, Cherry Lake definitely deserves its own signature sculpture along the Millers Street frontage to welcome visitors to Altona.
  • It will be lovely to have an area of Cherry Blossoms and fabricate a local legend although I know the Lake’s name is derived from the Cherry family.
  • Sources of water pollution should be addressed and monitored to ensure high water quality at Cherry Lake, Cherry Creek and the surrounding wetlands.
  • I will love to see a sustainable ecosystem garden, making use of renewable energy sources and rainwater/stormwater recycling and using commensal plants and animals (wormfarms, fish, insects, birds).
  • Promote this new precinct together with other Altona attractions, as a tourist destination. Places like Williamstown, Werribee, Newport, Point Cook, Yarraville and Footscray appear in tourism brochures. Unfortunately, Altona is not mentioned in most of these brochures despite its rich natural and cultural assets.
  • Cherry Lake Reserve is an ideal venue for group exercises such as morning Tai’Chi. More can be done to encourage artists, photographers, filmers and event organizers to capture and make use of the beauty of Cherry Lake and its surroundings.
  • As there are so many Sports Clubs and facilities in Altona, consider an annual Altona Sports Day/Weekend event, in which teams from other parts of Melbourne will be invited to participate and compete.