Updated: Aug 19
When you live in the inner city suburbs, you can easily begin to think of green space and the natural environment as something distant from you, something almost irrelevant.
Often when speaking with residents about their vision for Moreland's future, they don't mention green spaces at all and if they do, it's as though these spaces only begin to exist past the outer suburbs!
As someone who spent their childhood in a rural area, with the natural environment readily available, I understand and appreciate the unique benefits that nature provides to us. From encouraging child development and play-based learning to supporting our mental and physical health throughout our lifespan, it is important that Council does not forget the vital role that green spaces play in Moreland.
The Australian proverbial dream of having a big backyard, no longer necessarily exists in our inner city suburbs, as more of us live in medium and high density housing, so the need for outdoor spaces that allow for relaxation and recreation is becoming more and more critical.
In recent times we have all recognised the importance of having public spaces in which we can escape our houses and apartments. Local communities should feel like parks and green spaces belong to them, that they can spend time in them and that they suit the needs of those living in the area.
In Brunswick going to the ‘park’ might mean catching up with friends for a BBQ, taking the kids to the playground or taking the dog for a walk (which can be pleasant or a chore depending on the weather). Ultimately this is one of the big factors that make an area liveable, if Council continues to put up residential developments without green space, this can only lead to unhealthy and disconnected communities.
To build on this sense of a community that utilises its' parks, I believe that Council should be doing the following;
Keeping and creating public outdoor spaces - With more and more development happening in Moreland and an increase in population, Council needs to ensure that future private and developments includes green spaces and outdoor spaces that that people can, and more importantly, want to use.
Maintaining and improving recreational parks and playgrounds - these spaces might take up much thought, however Council need to make sure that recreational ovals such as Fleming park and Allard Oval are kept in good shape. The community should also have an improved children’s playground at Gilpin Park, that would attract families from across Brunswick, as local parks should have safe places to play.
Protecting our waterways and small pockets of bushland – With Merri Creek to our east and Moonee Ponds Creek to our west, Brunswick sits between two waterways that are also popular walking tracks. Maintaining the health of these waterways and improving the ecosystems that surround them should factor into any environmental
I also want to acknowledge that whilst we are talking about parks and green spaces this subject goes hand in hand with our protection of the natural environment. I further acknowledge that Moreland has a progressive track record of environmentalism, and moving into the future, I believe Moreland should be a Council that other Local governments look to when implementing environmental and sustainable practices.
For that to happen, Moreland must continue in its urgent action regarding our climate emergency. From energy to waste, from public transport to living sustainably, Council should be helping residents face the existential crisis of climate change head on.
A connection to our environment through public parks and green spaces is an excellent way to raise awareness and create thoughtful action around these bigger issues, This means that parks and green spaces are so important to our local community.
Access to outdoor space impacts everything from our physical health to our mental health to the development of our future generations. By creating, protecting and enhancing these spaces we will ensure positive outcomes for all our residents, throughout their lives.