Proposed carfree island development in Melbourne
- Island home plan for bay
A residential island could be built in Port Phillip Bay, made of silt from the proposed
dredging of the bay and the Yarra River.
If you fancy living on it, you will need to like walking: the island, which will be one-
third the size of Melbourne's CBD, will be car-free.
But you won't need to be a millionaire, as plans include a range of homes, from
entry-level to those with multi-million-dollar price tags.
According to its backers, the island would be environmentally friendly and
sustainable with its own power, sewerage and water. A wildlife sanctuary was a
possibility on a neighbouring island.
Sorrento resident Kerry Murphy is leading a consortium to turn the 30 million cubic
metres of silt expected from the dredging into an island, or a series of islands,
purely for residential development.
The island's location has not been finalised, but one suggested site is on an
existing "spoil" site, created from previous dredgings, about 15 kilometres from the
Though he opposes the controversial channel-deepening project that would allow
super-sized ships into Melbourne's port, Mr Murphy believes it is better to put the
silt created to a positive use, rather than dump it in the bay off Mount Martha.
Supported by local businesses and sailing clubs, Mr Murphy's proposal is also being
backed by a consortium including architect John Macdonald, who specialises in
ecologically sustainable design.
He heads the Eco Island Task Force, a consortium of professionals who believe the
island proposal is worthy of further investigation and government support.
Mr Macdonald said the concept ties in with the State Government's Melbourne 2030
initiative with the creation of a residential activity centre close to the city.
Melbourne 2030 reference group member Rob Pradolin said Melbourne needed
visionary projects such as this.
"We need to be challenged to think outside the square if we are going to continue
towards a sustainable society," he said.
The consortium was gathering letters of support from developers, and Mr Murphy
and Mr Macdonald will present the proposal to the Port Phillip chanel deepening
panel on Thursday.
Mr Macdonald said the consortium was keen to get the island concept approved
and then work out its shape and location. He said the spoils site was only one
option, but a cluster of small islands closer to the city could be built with bridges to
Mr Murphy said the islands could become a tourist attraction with worldwide
appeal. Man-made islands in the United Arab Emirates are internationally renowned
with the luxury high-rise tower Burj Al Arab and the Palm Islands built on silt
foundations off Dubai.
Coastal engineer Gerry Byrne said the closer the island was to the shore the
cheaper it would be to construct as it was in shallower water.
A long-time advocate of using dredge spoils to form an island in the bay, Mr Byrne
said the best location for a site close to land was off Point Ormond at the end of the
St Kilda marina. It had previously been mooted as a site for an island but the
concept, until now, had never been feasible, he said. Another possible site was off
But Mr Murphy said locating the island on the spoils ground, which is in the middle
of the bay between Beaumaris, Port Melbourne and Werribee, would provide a safe
harbour for boats in the bay.
He said the bay was exposed to sudden southerly changes that resulted in three-
metre waves and there had been calls for the creation of a safe harbour for years.
Mr Murphy said this option also had the benefit of being able to clean up
contaminated spoils dredged from the Yarra River. "You can take the new
contaminated spoils and put it on the spoils ground and then put new clean spoils
on top and there's your island," he said.
The managing director of Knight Frank Valuations, John O'Grady, said land on an
island on the spoils ground would be worth between $1500 and $3500 per square
metre, but the value would rise the closer the island was to shore.
Land on an island off St Kilda could be worth between $7000 and $10,000 per
square metre, Mr O'Grady said.