Harkness is one of Victoria’s newest suburbs, located between Melton West and Toolern Vale adjoining the West Growth Corridor approximately 40km northwest of the Melbourne CBD.
It is part of the City of Melton, a Local Government Authority that spans 265.9 km² and is home to 135,443 people (2016 census).
The Melton area has been serviced by the approximately 2.5 hectare Melton Public Cemetery since 1861, and this cemetery is expected to reach full capacity within two years.
A responsive master planning process is required to ensure the first stage of the development of the Harkness greenfield site is delivered in time to meet forecast community needs from 2022.
The site has significant environmental and cultural value which may inform and influence the design of our mixed-use development vision for the site.
The site is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. Around 100 mature grey box trees on the eastern side of the site are several hundred years old, and some are ‘scarred’ trees.
With residential areas to one side and green wedge zones on the other, the site is located near the edge of Melbourne’s growth zone boundary and has been leased to a local farmer who has been in the area for multiple generations.
The Melton Gilgai Woodlands Nature Conservation Reserve at the north-west corner of the site is the last remnant of a larger woodland, and is subject to an Environmental Significance Overlay. It is home to various endangered species.
Within the site there is evidence of a vestigial waterway that crosses the site, connecting the Gilgai Reserve with the lower reaches of the Arnolds Creek corridor, to Werribee River, forming a significant biodiversity corridor network.