Werribee’s CBD could become the Southbank of the west under a Wyndham council plan to put a Watton Street focus on the Werribee River.
The council had allocated $240,000 in this year’s budget for design plans to develop Wyndham Park – which is located behind Watton Street and leads down to the Werribee River – into a regional attraction, events space and the “green heart” of the CBD.
The development follows the council’s recent acquisition of the Werribee Toyota and Bridge Hotel sites, which will be used for carparking in the short term while the council redevelops three other sites in the CBD for multiple uses.
Wyndham council chief executive Kelly Grigsby said the council wants a mix of retail, restaurants, cafes, apartments and multi-storey carparking along Watton Street and surrounds – and wants to create a great riverfront by having many of the new developments face Wyndham Park and the river.
She said the council would work with retailers to help them achieve and recognise a “weekend and night economy”, adding that events such as this year’s winter festival would be more commonplace.
Mayor Adele Hegedich said that once complete, the project would change the entire landscape of the Werribee CBD.
“There aren’t many CBDs that are on the river,” Cr Hegedich said.
“Historically the Werribee city centre has not taken advantage of its excellent riverfront location, with most businesses facing away from the Werribee River and Wyndham Park. This is now changing.
“Council will capitalise on the river and park by strengthening their connection to the rest of the city centre, enhancing their amenity and introducing new attractions.”
The council will take its draft master plan for the project to government agencies, stakeholders and the community later this year for consultation, with construction slated to start at the end of 2017.