Latrobe City Council recently announced the closure of the Popup park that was erected at the corner of Tarwin St and Commercial Rd in Morwell. It was originally started as a temporary community space but became a popular meeting spot for young and old alike. Despite some opposition it was a real success, hosting many events and giving the CBD a touch of colour and creating a community in the process.
The park was originally funded by Vichealth as part of their Community Activation Program to transform a public space, get people active and create a longer term change in the community. The north-western end of Tarwin Street in Morwell was converted into a public plaza with synthetic grass, temporary landscaping, tables and seating, Wi-Fi, and a space for physical activity opportunities. The community was encouraged to participate in a range of fitness and movement classes such as tai chi, dance, giant chess, join walking groups, learn to cycle or participate in tug of war, bocce and sports.
Once it was given the go ahead by Latrobe City Council the park was transformed with the efforts of council employees and some working bees where the community participated.
After it was setup it hosted many events such as Circus Oz, Australian Ballet and the Arts Centre Melbourne as well as an outdoor cinema, exercise classes, music and even a little free library which operated near the site.
The 50 mile market also utilised the site for buskers and after furniture and a shade sail was added it became a convenient place for families with young children and other members of the community to spend their time. This was primarily the result of its location near Tania’s Deli and other cafes and provided a sense of security because of the CCTV cameras nearby.
The events hosted by the popup park were many and varied. In April 2016, Brett Glover and the Live at Spectrum Crew went to the Tarwin Pop Up Market and had a chat with some of the artists and organisers for Episode 03 of Live at Spectrum. A highlight of the episode was a performance by Nicky Bomba
In September 2016 people arrived at the popup park after walking 100kms from Pakenham to Morwell as part of the “Walk For The Valley“. The Earthworker Co Operative held the event as a fundraiser to go towards moving to Morwell and setting up a worker owned factory, and they are well on the way to manufacturing renewable products.
Latrobe City Council also announced their “Strength Led Transition” with the Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan outlining their plans for a community led transition.
After a community campaign to keep the park it’s existence was extended for a period of time however the council decided to close it in August 2017. Although this was expected it was still a regrettable outcome. So what is next for activation of public space in Morwell? Perhaps a project called “Future Morwell” holds the key.
“Mere weeks after the Hazelwood Power Station wound down its eight generating units for good, the town of 14,000 people has been given a document outlining a radical re-design of its town.
The long-awaited ‘Future Morwell Urban Revitalisation Plan’ document, has been released and is bold in its vision to transform Morwell into the ‘Town of Gardens’.
A ‘Morwell Circuit’ is the first part of the project, starting with a State Government funded stage ‘A’ plan to transform Commercial Road between Hazelwood Road and Tarwin Street.” ~Latrobe Valley Express
It seems once one door closes another is opening to re invent our public spaces. You can support the future morwell plan at the Latrobe City Council meeting on the 21st of August. Many community members are excited about the re development of Commercial Rd and Tarwin St with a more permanent solution for people to utilise the CBD.