Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund
The Victorian Government sought applications in 2020 from local government for grants of up to $100,000 to undertake shovel-ready works in Activity Centres in Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.
Successful applicants are working with the Office for Suburban Development to deliver local infrastructure including streetscape improvements to support outdoor dining, pop-up parks, footpath and bike path upgrades, public art and greening.
The projects, which form part of the Suburban Revitalisation Program, have created local jobs while supporting local businesses, including retailers, cafes, restaurants and service providers.
Details of the successful applications are provided below.
Council and project location
Banyule - Were Street, Montmorency
The project is about 'living locally' and making the Were Street neighbourhood activity centre a more vibrant, walkable, accessible and pedestrian-focused centre by delivering a new streetscape and pocket park. The project will deliver a level deck to help ageing people and people with disability navigate an uneven footpath area. The works will also promote footpath dining.
Construction is anticipated to be completed in April 2023.
Boroondara - Highfield Road, Camberwell
Completed in 2021, Highfield Road Shopping Centre's streetscape improvements have made the shopping centre more pedestrian-friendly and built on its local village character and sense of community. Improved amenities for the local community and businesses include new footpaths with decorative paving, street furniture, public seating areas, trees to give shelter, expanded café outdoor dining areas and increased greenery.
Brimbank - Northumberland Road, Sunshine North
|The Northumberland Road works, completed in 2021, have revitalised the centre by creating a destination for the local community and encouraging more patronage of this local shopping strip. The project's aim has been to encourage more walking and less car travel to larger shopping centres and create a vibrant community hub within this part of North Sunshine. The project has involved the installation of a safe crossing for pedestrians, wider and more accessible footpaths, seating and shade.
Cardinia - Lakeside Shopping Centre/Cardinia Cultural Centre, Pakenham
The project involved the renewal of the exterior grounds of the Cardinia Cultural Centre precinct and Lakeside Shopping Strip.
Completed works include new public seating, landscaping including single level walkways and dining areas, the installation of lighting and an artistic mural.
Casey - Fairway Sommerville Road, Hampton Park
Completed in early 2022, works included rear laneway upgrades, increased lighting to increase safety, renewal of the carpark and increased accessibility with the refresh of kerbs, footpaths, seating, bin enclosures, signage, and tree planting.
Darebin - Oakhill Village, Preston, Thornbury Shopping Strip and Gilbert Street Preston
The project has delivered a suite of streetscape improvements across the City of Darebin to revitalise three retail activity centres: Oakhill Village, Thornbury Shopping Strip and Miller on Gilbert. Works included upgrades to walking and cycling paths, tree plantings and public art installations, safety upgrades for pedestrians, the installation of LED lighting and pop-up facilities.
Frankston - Excelsior Drive, Frankston North and Seaford
The completed project has delivered improvements to Excelsior Drive Shopping Strip including new paving, trees, landscaping and street furniture to improve pedestrian access and brighten up the activity centre. The improvements were designed with the intention of reducing reliance on vehicles and encouraging walking and cycling, reducing pollution and supporting social interaction and physical activity.
Seaford will benefit from improvements to encourage local residents to utilise their local neighbourhood centre. A street art project and the establishment of shopfront improvement and kerbside dining grants will increase public amenity and increase the pride of local traders.
Completion of the improvements in Seaford is anticipated to be completed by February 2023.
Glen Eira - Carnegie Community Space
Installations have been made to utilise the space for events that will activate the area and encourage the community to come to Carnegie and experience all that the suburb has to offer. The site now contains plenty of seating, a stage and plenty of space for event-related activities such as food trucks or a cinema screen. The space provides a location where local businesses can hold events such as festivals or markets with pop-up shops.
Greater Dandenong - Hemmings Street, Dandenong
These works have completed stage four of the Hemmings Street neighbourhood shopping strip. This work included the construction of a landscaped parklet, creating a new public open space that's been warmly received by locals, infrastructure for a new public toilet and landscaping of the shopping centre's carpark which was previously without trees. These works have improved the public realm by increasing canopy coverage and making a safe and beautiful environment that encourages locals to stay and shop.
Hobsons Bay - Pier Street (Stage 4), Altona
The project will redesign Pier Street, Altona, for the community and local traders with a design that allows for flexibility of use, cohesion of form and enhanced character. Works will include the widening of footpaths, traffic calming measures, landscaping and tree planting. This adaptive streetscape could be closed seasonally over the warmer months for outdoor markets, festivals and community initiatives.
Construction was completed in November 2022.
Hume - Emu Parade, Jacana
Jacana's Emu Parade Shopping Strip has been upgraded with the installation of three gardens, seating and an outdoor dining space. The project has revived the strip, designed to encourage locals to view the strip as an activity centre where they can shop, gather and socialise.
Kingston - Mordialloc
The project turned a temporary road closure into a permanent one to create a Piazza, which will includes the installation of permanent seating, shade structures, festoon and fairy lights, a new tree, bollards, bike racks and bins.
Construction was completed in December 2022.
Kingston - Seaford
The project delivered improved amenities in the Seaford through shopfront improvements, kerbside dining and street art.
This project was completed in February 2023.
Knox - Upper Ferntree Gully Shopping Centre, Upper Ferntree Gully
The Upper Ferntree Gully Streetscape Enhancements project seeks to develop and deliver unique public art enhancements to the recently upgraded shopping strip. This will include sculpture, lighting and signage designed with the intent to reflect the historical character of the area. It'll be an iconic focal point in the Activity Centre and provide a safe and welcoming space for locals and visitors.
It's anticipated the project will be completed in February 2023.
Manningham - Jackson Court, Doncaster East
Doncaster communities now enjoy a parklet in Jackson Court which has been installed to stimulate local business activity and encourage community connectedness.
Maribyrnong - Clarke Street and Barkly Village, West Footscray)
Barkly Village of West Footscray enjoyed improvements including a pop-up park on a temporary road closure; increased greening of the Village through new and renewed planting; new and refurbished seating and bike racks. These improvements have made the Village a better place to visit and shop and allow for improved access for pedestrians and cyclists into the Village shopping centre. The pop-up park has been well received by the local community and local traders who see it as an attractive feature of the Village.
Maroondah - Ringwood East
Ringwood East Shopping Centre has benefited from the creation of parklets, landscaping, footpath improvements and arts and cultural installations. Vacant shops have been activated and existing business shop fronts enhanced through an arts installation that's now an additional point of interest that encourages visitation to the centre.
Melbourne - Melbourne CBD
The project is converting multiple 'Little Streets' around the city into pedestrian priority zones, including the conversion of parking spaces with pop-up sites.
Melton - Melton South & Scott Street
The project has revitalised two of Melton's oldest neighbourhood activity centres. Works included improvements to the look and feel of the retail shop fronts, activating the areas with place-making initiatives and public art, and improving the perceptions of safety with improved public lighting.
Mitchell - Wallan
|The project has improved the public realm of the town centre of Wallan and Hadfield Park, with the addition of directional signage, wayfinding and seating. The project will stimulate local businesses by improving connectivity and accessibility for residents and visitors between shopping strips and open space in the town.
Monash - Pinewood, Huntingdale, Glen Waverly, Mount Waverly, Oakleigh and Clayton
This project has reactivated six activity centres in Monash with the creation of parklets, enhanced public space and additional outdoor dining options. Pre-fabricated shipping containers created cordoned-off areas with seating, artwork and landscaping that created additional public spaces.
Moonee Valley - Strathmore, Airport West, Moonee Ponds and Avondale Heights
|Moonee Valley City Council activated three key community based neighbourhoods by installing green space in shopping strips, bud lighting and distinctive new artworks to help support and build on a sense of place in the shopping strips, helping small business and improving the broader public realm.
Merri-bek - neighbourhood centres
Multiple parklets have been created to provide outdoor space for cafes and restaurants, and infrastructure upgrades were made to encourage people to walk or cycle.
Mornington Peninsula - Blairgowrie and Rosebud
|The Blairgowrie project has created a central public gathering space for the community of Blairgowrie to
meet up, sit down for a chat, hang out and picnic. It has created a public
place that can be used in all seasons, that provides a stronger connection
between the shopping strip and the beach and complements the shopping and
The Rosebud Placemaking and Activation project completed works undertaken in 2020 by creating more green spaces for people to meet and socialise in a vibrant space with pop-up art and cultural activities. The works have also provided a place for reprieve during summer with the installation of shade structures. This showcases local businesses and improves the experience of shoppers.
Both works have been completed.
Nillumbik - Yarrambat
Yarrambat has benefited from a range of works that support the masterplan in activating the Neighbourhood Activity Centre. Works included drainage upgrades, installation of kerb and channels, the sealing of unsealed informal car parks, the replacement and installation of new pedestrian footpaths and extensive street tree planting.
The works were completed in May 2022.
Port Phillip - Albert Park, Balaclava, Elwood, Middle Park, Port Melbourne, Fishermans Bend, South Melbourne and St Kilda
Ten temporary parklets were installed across the municipality of Port Phillip to provide a safe place for congregation with accessible public seating, street greening and additional footpath space for neighbourhood shopping centres.
Stonnington - Malvern Valley, Malvern East
This project seeks to improve the 20 minute neighbourhood by providing a quality public space to encourage local trade, dining, retail and community interaction. This will be achieved through implementing feature pavements, public art, new furniture and more greenery within the precinct and creating stronger pedestrian connections to surrounding open spaces.
Construction was completed in December 2022.
Wyndham - Woodville Park, Hoppers Crossing
In conjunction with property owners, Wyndham City Council has delivered increased accessibility, safety, business support and a better experience for shoppers through a range of works. These included upgrades to footpaths, signage, shopfront, lighting and the installation of artworks, and increased greenery.
This has delivered a more modern and vibrant character and appeal to the precinct.
Whitehorse - Brentford Square, Forest Hill
Brentford Square will benefit from landscaping, art installations, paving upgrades, new seating and the painting of arcade poles. This will create a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive environment for a range of community and business activations to occur.
These works were completed in May 2022.
Whittlesea - Rochdale Square Shopping Centre, Lalor
Public lighting has been upgraded between the Shopping Centre and Lalor Railway Station.
Yarra - Nicholson Village, Carlton North
Nicholson Village is a Neighbourhood Activity Centre which is comprised of a mix of retail, food and hospitality outlets, services and employment. The project will improve the presentation and amenity of the Village in order to strengthen the existing character and function of the Precinct and encourage people to spend more time in the area. Works include landscaping and tree planting, new furniture and seating opportunities, public artwork and signage, as well as footpath improvements.
Construction was completed in September 2022.
Yarra Ranges - Mount Evelyn, Healesville, Olinda, Seville, Sassafras and Upwey
project saw the installation of pop-up parklets that enabled social distancing with comfortable waiting spaces for customers of local shops, including take-away stores.
This has supported local businesses to adapt to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can learn more about how the Victorian Government is support businesses in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by visiting business.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
In 2020 the Victorian Government committed $3 million from its Building Works Package for the Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund (NACRF), supporting communities as they recover from the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund has benefitted local communities and economies in metropolitan Melbourne by developing and revitalising Neighbourhood Activity Centres/Shopping Strips.
The fund was open to 32 councils in Metropolitan Partnerships regions.
The Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund accepted applications for grants of up to $100,000 per project, for local infrastructure upgrades, and streetscape and public space improvements in Neighbourhood Activity Centres/Shopping Strips.
The Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund was launched in 2020 to support councils in managing the immediate challenges associated with the phased opening of business activity and building community confidence in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, when safe to do so.
The Fund has jointly funded community improvement and local business initiatives to drive neighbourhood centre renewal and improve amenities and accessibility in metropolitan Melbourne communities.
The objectives of the fund are:
- Support initiatives in (council designated and planned) neighbourhood activity centres that stimulate local business activity; encourage local businesses to return; improvements to the public amenity and accessibility of suburban strip shopping area, when safe to do so.
- Support the implementation of the Victorian Governments 20-minute Neighbourhood policy (particularly supporting projects that demonstrate a similar approach to the pilot sites) and focus on smaller scale approaches to revitalising suburban centres and be delivered in conjunction with local government, business and community sector stakeholders.
The Neighbourhood Activity Centre Renewal Fund was open to councils in the Metropolitan Partnerships regions in 2020. Grants of up to $100,000 per project were available for local infrastructure upgrades in neighbourhood activity centres. Councils were required to make a co-contribution (financial and/or in-kind) of at least 50 per cent of the grant application amount.
Priority was given to projects that were investment-ready, demonstrated the need for government assistance, included detailed plans for the space, and delivered strong outcomes for local communities.