Wyndham Harbour - A precursor to how the west might be won?

What had originally intended to be a media release packaged up as a transport article has morphed into something of a grander question of future sustainability and design for Melbourne's burgeoning west after some banter at Urban Melbourne. Last Thursday saw Planning Minister Matthew Guy announce the rezoning of Wyndham Harbour, excerps of which are found below.

State Government Rezones Wyndham Harbour

Today Minister Matthew Guy has announced the rezoning of a significant 10.37 hectare parcel of land in Wyndham City, Werribee in Melbourne’s west, facing onto Wyndham Harbour and Port Phillip Bay. This signals a boost in confidence from the State Government and a clear commitment to encourage infrastructure and development within Melbourne’s west.

“Clearly rezoning the land is a statement of intent to deliver a critical mass of people, a viable population catchment and a thriving seaside community to service a proposed new Port Phillip ferry,” commented Lyons’ CEO, John Roysmith. It is envisioned that Wyndham Harbour will become a thriving, focal hub within Melbourne’s west. Wyndham Harbour will eventually become home to Victoria’s largest luxury marina, providing up to 1000 berths as well as incorporating a stylish master planned residential and retail precinct set to include an exciting combination of cafes, restaurants and specialty stores. Amenity aplenty will be provided along the Wyndham Harbour boardwalk, with 390 car parks, a marina club and a proposed new Port Phillip ferry service.

This vibrant coastal community will help provide much needed infrastructure and amenity for City of Wyndham, identified as one of the fastest growing local government areas in Melbourne. By 2026 over 20% of Melbourne’s 900,000 expected additional residents are projected to reside in Melbourne’s west, as the west is forecast to almost double in population with significant growth forecast to continue within the western corridor.

Also under construction at Wyndham Harbour is an apartment building designed by Fender Katsalidis Mirams containing 104 apartments (sold out), and a second five level apartment building designed by SJB architects containing 140 apartments is due for release later this year.

The last paragraph above is of particular interest, the supply of 244 apartments into an area flush with detached housing. That stage one has sold out speaks volumes of the ever increasing propensity for individuals to choose apartment living over the traditional house/land package, even on Melbourne's fringe; Caroline Springs being the prime example with multiple apartment buildings up to nine levels at all stages of development. Apartments on the fringe? Absolutely!

Given appropriate transport links (i.e. pending Melbourne-Werribee ferry service and adequate rail services) the option of higher density living around activity centres/transport nodes should always be preferred, regardless of the location. This would decrease vehicle trips, alleviate stresses on Melbourne's already over burdened transport infrastructure while also providing essential services and amenity within a shorter distance to a greater number of people. Example, Joe Blow lives in Werribee close to both Wyndham Harbour and the Princes Highway, and commutes to Melbourne for work. Walk to a fast ferry terminal, jump on for Melbourne's CBD or alternatively continue to drive his car every morning into the rolling car park that is the Westgate Freeway.

Things must change before the urban errors that are Derrimut and Truganina (close to Wyndham Harbour) are replicated elsewhere in Melbourne's west. Truganina is a depressing excuse of a hole; no transport links, no amenity, no services, no entertainment/retail offerings... and no hope. Suburbs such as these that provide no stimulus are breeding grounds for social problems. I know, I've had the misfortune of working there many times over. Now some may say I'm completely wrong, but luckily Wyndham Council is not amongst them.

Images © Wyndham City Council & Bird de la Couer

Above left is Wyndham City Council's vision for Werribee and right sees Bird de la Couer's Alamanda Point Cook project; clearly apartment living will in due course become far more prevalent in Melbourne's west, as it should. Given there's only one auto crossing over the Yarra to Melbourne's west for the foreseeable future, high density housing options around transport hubs/activity centres is a highly efficient way to tackle a multitude of urban blunders that exist on the western fringe. The pace of urbanisation in these areas is highly dependent upon the correct implementation/realisation of mass use transport infrastructure projects, and seeing the Melbourne-Werribee ferry come to fruition would be a great start.

And one more request while I'm at it, if the green field sites in the initial image below of Wyndham Harbour are to be developed in the future, a nice mix of midrise buildings punctuated by open space would be the ticket.

Image © wyndhamharbour.com.au


Chris Peska's picture

An additional transport link to the CBD from the west is very necessary. The next challenge is to ensure that it is economically viable where the ticket is at a price point that is competitive to the cost of driving to the CBD and the system is integrated with myki. Time wise, the estimated travel time of 40-45 mins is certainly attractive for potential CBD commuters.

Observe. Design. Build. Live.

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Dean's picture

"Truganina is a depressing excuse of a hole"

I just had to LOL. :-)

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Chris Peska's picture

No point beating around the bush :)

Observe. Design. Build. Live.

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Daniel Wilson's picture

The first image looks good. They really need to use the water to ease the congestion on our roads.

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Rohan Storey's picture

Interesting and it's a start for higher density in fringe areas but it is a special case - people presumably buying in so they can have a berth fir their boat. Might even be that the apts are for weekends and holidays only. The rest seems to be typical low density suburban housing. And it's hardly a real community, no supermarket or school, just a piazza and cafes. And really not all that many people - bet the ferry never happens, or does just a once into town and once back again. Unless it's connected to Werribee by bus and actually fast.


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Riccardo's picture

I would love to see this thrive. The ferry does not need subsidising, only that it needs to be fair ie stop subsidising the rail mode. And remove the stupid 5 knot channel restriction.

Rail was lost as an option when Labor extended the Altona line to Westona then...wait for it...back to Laverton, which already had a rail service! The same length of extension would have reached the boundary of Pt Cook, and supported by a good local bus network, might have delivered a rail service that was independent if the congested Werribee and Geelong line.

It will be good to see Melbourne develop a boat culture that other states have had for years.

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