A campaign has begun to get a rare slice of open space in Footscray handed over to the community.
Buckley Street resident Daniell Flood is fighting for the land at 96-100 Buckley Street, compulsorily acquired in 2011 for the $3.65 billion Regional Rail Link, to be turned into community open space.
About 80 homes and businesses along and near Buckley Street, including the Footscray Senior Citizens Centre, were bulldozed to make way for the project.
Surplus land not used when the rail link was completed will be sold to developers unless bought by a state government agency or Maribyrnong council.
“There is no open space in the area yet there are going to be around 800 new apartments built around the site,” Mr Flood said.
“It’s probably the last piece of government- owned land around here.”
The Regional Rail Link Authority has deemed 96-100 Buckley Street to be surplus, along with a 200-metre long strip stretching west from Middle Footscray station at 130-176 Buckley Street.
RRLA spokesman Paul Frawley said the land had been offered for sale to other government agencies and Maribyrnong council as per state government guidelines.
“Any land not purchased by another government body will be listed for public sale in the new year,” he said.
Star Weekly reported in March that residents want 130-176 Buckley Street to be gifted to the community as a park.
Footscray MP Marsha Thomson said she was willing to discuss the future of the sites with Maribyrnong council. “If council is interested in the land then I’m interested in working with them to get the property,” she said.
“The thing that is of interest to all of us is the amount of green space available in Footscray, particularly in regards to some of the apartments approved under [former state planning minister] Matthew Guy.”
Maribyrnong mayor Nam Quach said the council would be interested in discussing the future of the land parcels. “[But] it’s important people realise council doesn’t own the land and there are many aspects to look at, such as safety and location,” he said.
Mr Flood has started a Facebook page in support of his campaign at www.facebook.com/buckleystpark