Sunday 25th March 2018.
Opening of Darebin to Yarra link trail (speech)
My name is Graeme Martin. Great to see so many people here. Thank you all for coming today.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we stand today.
I represent a Coalition of Community groups, who, 12 and half years ago, came together to lobby for the completion of the Darebin to Yarra linking trail. At the time, the trail stopped several kilometres from here. I told my kids that when they went to high school they would be able to ride there. My now 22-year-old son loves to remind me that I didn’t get that right!
The Coalition of Community started when Ray Davis from the Darebin Bicycle User Group, arranged for six representatives from different community groups to meet with John Thwaites, then the Minister for Planning, at a community cabinet meeting. The Minister called his Department and arranged for us to make contact with the responsible public servants. Well, we did. And we have maintained contact with Governments and agencies as they have evolved over the past 12 years.
So friends. Today has been a long time coming. And we are so happy that it has finally arrived.
Today is not just about the opening of a bridge and a trail. It is about completing a connection.
A connection between people, places, home and school, a connection to work, to university, friends and family. A connection between communities.
This trail is not just for cyclists, young and old, but also for walkers, runners, wheelchair users, dog strollers, pram pushers, wanderers and poets; to explore the beauty of the Darebin Creek and connect with the hundreds of kilometres of Melbourne’s shared trails. This was demonstrated today by the people who rode the trails here from the four points of the compass. Today was the first time that was possible.
The opening of this vital connection today has not happened because it was on a list of things to be done. It has happened because the community wanted it, the community dreamed about it and people stood up to make it happen.
And with respect we are newbies on this campaign. There have been other groups, lobbying for this trail for over twenty years.
In this regard, I would like to acknowledge the publicity and outreach of Craig Richards’ team at Bicycle Network and former CEO Harry Barber who have done a fantastic job in keeping this issue alive through their missing link campaign.
I would like to acknowledge Banyule Councillor Tom Melican who has long campaigned with Councils, Councillors and Mayors for the trail.
Over the past 12 years, the Community Coalition members have met over 40 times with, and written over 40 letters to, the various Ministers, Mayors, Councillors and government departments who’ve been responsible for the trail.
Today, I invite you to acknowledge the dedication of the Community Coalition members:
1. Julia Blunden and John Parker from the Boroondara Bicycle User Group (BUG)
2. Roger Thornton from the Boroondara Bushwalkers
3. Ray Davis and Robin Gallagher from Darebin BUG
4. Adrian Infanti from Darebin Creek Management Committee
5. James Garriock from Darebin Parklands Association
6. James Thyer for Alphington Primary School, Kew High School and SAFCA
7. Maurie Abbott from Banyule BUG
8. David Hall from Whitehorse Cyclists
The time dedicated by these people has been their own personal time so it is important that today we say thank you very much to our partners and families for their patience and support.
A few more important acknowledgements:
The sections of trail that brought it here to Sparks Reserve were undertaken by Darebin and Banyule Councils. I would like to thank them for their leadership in getting it this far.
The lead agency for preparing the planning application and presentation to VCAT was Parks Victoria. The VCAT decision laid the framework for today. Thank you.
The funding to complete this last section of the trail, $18 million, was committed by Mr Matthew Guy, who was then the Minister for Planning. Thank you.
Five years ago, VicRoads were given carriage of the project to complete the trail from here, around and across the creek, across private land, across a heritage property, across flood prone lands and finally across the Yarra River. Less than two kilometres, but as Aiden (VicRoads regional manager) explained, not without challenges. Congratulations.
We would also like to thank VicRoads for genuinely seeking to involve the community in the development of the plans. To that end, the Community Coalition would especially like to thank Tracey Gosby from VicRoads for her positive, open approach to engagement with us.
Another person who assisted the Community Coalition early on was the late Fiona Richardson, our local member for Northcote. We invited Fiona to our meetings and she came. Fiona listened, offered sage advice and represented our position in parliament. You can now find requests to support the Darebin to Yarra trail on Hansard in the Parliament of Victoria.
Finally, today is a celebration for everyone. Everyone who dreamed about this connection, who has followed web and social media conversations, liked and shared them; talked to friends and family about it because this has kept alive the vision and the pressure to make it happen. And it has happened. Well done.
I’d like to finish with a quote by Jon Muth.
It is easy to believe we are each individual waves and forget we are also the ocean. Together, we can make big things happen.
Sunday 25th March celebration kicks-off at 10.30am.
Sunday 25th March 2018 At Last an Opening. The final stage to join the Darebin and Yarra shared trails will be officially opened on Sunday 25th March. Come along and celebrate the occasion. The main gathering will be in Sparks Reserve from 10.30am to 1.00pm. There will be an official launch at 11.00am at the main bridge crossing the Yarra River. More details to come.
14 May 2017 More progress. This the last crossing over the Darebin Creek to be installed. The next major bridge will span over the Yarra River. The missing link is still on track for completion before the end of 2017.
4 August 2016
We are on the home straight. VicRoads have awarded the contract for a company to install the bridges and trail to complete the trail. The work includes a mighty bridge over the Yarra River to join the Darebin and Yarra trails. It will take another 12 months. The Community Coalition has been working on this for ten years so in the scheme of things another year is not long especially when we know that finally it is going to happen. Cheers
25 May 2016
Another landmark day. Today VicRoads advertised the tender for the construction of four bridges and trail to complete the trail connection. Work should commence August and be complete in 12 months. Too early to put the bubbly in the fridge but the celebration is in sight.
2 February 2016
Finally, the last road block to completing the link has been cleared. Deals to access the land to build the path are now done.
VicRoads are now planning to put out a tender for the construction to commence around August. However, it likely to be another 12 months before we get to ride, walk, jog or skip over it.
30 December 2015 - We are not there yet!
Another year over and we are still not there yet. As the sign from VicRoads indicates the final link is now due to be completed before mid 2017.
There has been significant progress in 2015 with the completion of the beautiful section of the path from Sparkes Reserve. The path crosses the Darebin Creek twice and finishes in the bushland of Napier Waller Reserve.
At this time, we are waiting on land to be acquired then construction of the final section of the path and the bridge over the Yarra River. It is happening, just not as fast as we want so keep reminding your local MP how important it is. Happy peddling.
For further information you can now link to a VicRoads webpage:
2 August 2015 - First of Two Sections
The next section under construction going through Sparkes Reserve is almost complete. However, this section will probably not be officially opened because it does not go finish at an accessible
point. VicRoads are due to put the tender out for the final section across the golf course and the Yarra River before Christmas. It is unlikely to be complete before Christmas 2016. We need to
keep the pressure on to keep the project moving. For more updates, check out the Facebook page.
21 December 2014 - Construction underway
Works have finally started in Sparks Reserve and Alphington Grammar.
Looking forward to 2015 to finally see real progress and the trail emerge.
30 October 2014 - Stage 1 Ready to Start
Minister for Roads announced today the award of the contract to build stage 1 from Sparks Reserve to Napier Waller Reserve.
The contract has been awarded to Cut & Fill Pty Ltd.
They are busy working on preparing documents prior to works starting. Work is expected to start soon in Sparks Reserve, Alphington Grammar & Napier Waller Reserve.
7th May 2014
VicRoads has released the first of two tenders to build the link. The first contract will probably commence mid 2014 and this will start building the trail from Sparks Reserve to Latrobe Golf Club. The contract for the second half connecting through to the main Yarra trail will be let later this year. Getting there...
10th December 2013 - Imagining when we can ride the trail...
Community Coalition members were shown the proposed link trail route around Alphington Grammer and LaTrobe Golf course by VicRoads. It was fantastic to see and will be stunning when it's built... When you ask... we all ask... starts in 2014...
6th October 2013
Latest from VicRoads. The final section of the trail is very tricky as it requires three bridges over the Darebin Creek and then a major bridge over the Yarra River. VicRoads are working on a detailed plan for the northern section with the 3 crossings and expect to have it constructed in 2014. Unfortunately, we won't be able to use this section of trail until the second section is completed in 2015. Still, it is good to know that the wheels are turning.
4th December 2013 - Launch
Come along to the official opening of the Darebin Creek Trail to Sparkes Reserve this Friday 6th December at 9am.
Meet in Sparks Reserve.
10th June 2013
The Link is back on track. The Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy has overruled the City of Boroondara's attempt to block the planning permit. It's time for the detractors to get over their own opinions and realise the link is in the interests of the broader community interest so we can all get over the bridge.
Thanks Minister Guy for taking a stand.
The link section under Heidelberg Rd was christened by the recent heavy rain.
3rd May 2013
First the GOOD news, the trail under Heidelberg Rd is now open!
Now the BAD news. Boroondara Council Planning Committee to voted to reject the extension to the planning permit to build the bridge and trail into Wilsmere Reserve. The permit extension should have been extended as a formality. So Boroondara Council's political games will delay the project and now doubt cost tax payers and rate payers.
Keep peddling, we will get there.
19th April 2013
Boroondara Council are debating again, whether to extend the planning permit to support the link trail. You would have thought with all the support previously demonstrated, VCAT approval and the State Government budget pledge that Council would accept the need to support the trail!
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. This Monday 22nd April the Coalition members will present the patent need for this link. If you'd like to attend, the meeting is in the Council Chambers, corner of Inglesby and Camberwell roads, starting at 6.30pm. If you would like to speak on why this trail is so important to you, you need to get there by 6.15pm to register. Keep peddling, we will get there.
30 January 2013
The new section under Heidelberg Rd is tantalising close to completion but we will have to wait until March for it to open. Will post a date for the opening when known.
21st December 2012
There are some rumblings at Boroondara Council regarding approval of extension of the planning permit for the trail. It would seem that a couple of Councillors are trying to resurrect a long dead argument about the location of the trail. So dear friends there may be a need to rally in 2013 to highlight how important the trail is so many people. We will keep you posted.
9th December 2012
Celebration.... Government has announced today their commitment to complete the link. They have committed $18 million and said it will take 3 years.
The Community Coalition which formed 7 years ago to lobby for this link is overjoyed. Members of the coalition were at the BNV rally today to celebrate the news with many other people.
Congratulations to everyone who has supported the campaign. This link is so important for many reasons and the stories that people have contributed highlight this.
We will keep you informed on progress so keep in touch with this web page. Look forward to seeing you on the trail.
18th November 2012
We recently wrote to the Minister Environment and were told that plans for completing the link are still on hold, pending the yet to be released Cycling Strategy. It's time to tell this Govt we have waited too long, join us at the Bicycle Network Vic rally on Sunday, 9 December, at Sparks Reserve, Ivanhoe: 10:00-11:00am
Work on the link under Heidelberg Rd is finally getting somewhere. Look like it will be ready and launched in January. There are more photographs showing progress to
date on Facebook.
The continuation of the trail under Heidelberg Rd to Sparks Reserve is well underway. Hopefully soon the trail to no where, will finally get somewhere! However, we will keep pushing until the trail links right through to the Yarra trail. So keep talking to your neighbours, friends and family about how good it will be. We need to keep the momentum going.
Ride to Work breakfast. Come and join us for breakfast or coffee on the trail at the Darebin Parklands on Wednesday 17th October.
The famour cypress tree at the end of the trail is gone. The shared trail under Heidelberg Rd is making progress. There are photos on our facebook page.
Darebin Council has developed a new Cycling Strategy and want feedback. The strategy objectives include: Create a cohesive high quality network of cycle friendly routes accessing popular destinations both within Darebin and the larger Metropolitan network that are suitable for use by those of all abilities, ages and backgrounds.
The Council should be congratulated for creating a strategy. We would like to reinforce the above objective with completion of the Darebin trail connecting to the north and south. Have your say at
August 20th 2012
The connection to Sparks Reserve is finally underway. With the all the rain, can't say when it will be complete but at least there is 'almost concrete' progress.
That is more than we can say about this Government's commitment to completing the link across to the Yarra trail in the near future. However, in our correspondence with Government Ministers they have said that shared trails will be considered in the new Metropolitan Planning Strategy. To find out more, go to the Dept Planning website and vote for more bike paths. http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/
June 10th 2012
As you will have read in the newspapers, this state government has not allocated any new funding for shared trails, let alone completing the missing link between the Darebin - Yarra trails. Bicycle Network Victoria are arranging a protest on the steps of Parliament House on Thursday 21st June from 7.30am to 8.30am. We will be there with 'bells on', hope you can make it too.
We are ordering a small run of bright green vests with our logo on the back to wear on the day, so come and chat to us.
March 20th 2012
Community Coalition is pleased to announce that the Whitehorse Cyclists have joined the Coalition. We support closure of the gap between the Yarra River Trail and Darebin Creek Trail. This closure will extend the Melbourne off-road cycling network, making cycling safer and more attractive, and reducing traffic on the road. Each week our club organises seven leisure rides, many of which now cross the dangerous Chandler Highway Bridge or cross busy Heidelberg Road to The Boulevard at Ivanhoe, both of which will be bypassed by the link. The route will be very scenic, as it will pass through a natural bush valley and over presently inaccessible public parkland.
February 5th 2012
No good news to report. The Banyule Council tender process for building the next trail section under Heidelberg Rd has been delayed! So the completion date is delayed. Can't say when it will be now completed. We'll keep you posted.
December 4th 2011
Finally the trail under Heidelberg Road to Sparks Reserve is going ahead. Banyule Council has called for tenders to construct the section from the 'famous tree' under the Heidelberg Road bridge. Provided we don't have a lot of Summer rain, like last year, it should be constructed this Summer. Yah. That's one step forward.
However, there is no news on whether the trail will be connected through to the Yarra trail. We will keep you posted.