One of the original inner city ring of open spaces provided for in the original layout of Melbourne, along with Fawkner Park, the Domain and Botanical Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Royal Park, Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens, Yarra Park is a welcome area for recreation and relaxation for residents and others. It contains remnant natural vegetation and Aboriginal scarred trees, and more recently some magnificent rows of elms. It is the home to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the location of the first Aussie rules football match. A more detailed description is here. The East Melbourne Group succeeded in having it listed on the State Heritage Register for all these reasons.
Unfortunately Yarra Park is also known to many residents of Melbourne at the MCG car park, a function which the East Melbourne Group considers incompatible with all the other uses. Our view is that car parking should not be allowed, that public transport be made more frequent and more accessible, for example by upgrading Richmond Station (long promised, but still not delivered) and improving the tram stops in Wellington Parade (recently started), and that dedicated car parking (such as has recently been built next to Hisense Arena) should be provided nearby for those for whom public transport is not realistic. Further details on EMG’s policy for Yarra Park are here.
While working for this outcome in the long term, we work with the Melbourne Cricket Club (which has responsibility for managing Yarra Park) to minimise the impact of parking, to the extent that is possible. For example, we monitor that the Park is closed for parking when the weather will lead to major damage.
Other current issues relating to Yarra Park include balancing the respective rights of walkers, owners of dogs using the off-leash and other areas, cyclists, young children using the playground and those taking part in more active recreation.
An immediate challenge is the proposal by the Melbourne Football C:ub to build a training oval in the NE section of the Park, with their headquarters built next to it, ov er them train line. We are strongly opposed to this idea. See questionnaire sent to State election candidates and their responses. Includes 20 November further response from ALP candidates.