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Frequently Asked Questions

At Melbourne Water we understand the value of open space to community health and wellbeing.

That’s why we're exploring ways to create new open space in Glenroy, providing additional opportunities to exercise, relax, socialise and connect with nature.

As a community, we’re facing challenges associated with rapid population growth including, urban density, more dense suburbs with smaller backyards, coupled with the effects of climate change - all of which make access to green open spaces for communities to recreate and connect to nature even more important.

Activation of retarding basins as open space can help deliver multiple benefits to the community. While the core retarding basin function will remain the primary function of this site, additional recreation and open space have been considered where risks to this primary function can be appropriately managed.

Melbourne Water aims to realise multiple benefits for the community, while safely delivering our core services that include management of our drainage network and mitigating flood risk in your local area.

Glenroy has been identified as being in need of more green open space, according to Merri-bek City Council's Open Space strategies.

The Glenroy neighbourhood contains multiple retarding basins which have the potential to provide increased open and green areas for passive recreation and the enjoyment of natural spaces.

The transformation and activation of the retarding basins in Glenroy could also be used as a model for opening retarding basin sites in other suburbs around Melbourne.

Retarding basins are large artificial low-lying areas of land that play an important role in reducing flood risk to our neighbourhoods by retaining heavy rainfall and holding it temporarily to prevent overloading of drains and waterways.

Retarding basins are critical in urban areas where pavements, driveways and other hard surfaces mean that less water can soak into the ground.

Water levels can rise quickly, so you should never visit a retarding basin during rainfall or when it is flooded.

Keeping our communities, and the native wildlife that also call Melbourne home, safe is essential to our way of life today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

Watch this video to learn more.

We're exploring new ways to open up the Glenroy retarding basins to offer recreational and open space opportunities to the community.

In August 2023, we asked the community to tell us what you would like to see in the future so that we could consider those ideas in the development of a draft concept plan.

Activities considered for additional recreation need to enhance wellbeing for the community while not compromising on the retarding basins' primary function of reducing flood risk to the local community.

This means water-based activities as well as active sports and play infrastructure cannot be considered.

Dog parks

  • Through our community engagement, the majority of responses told us how you want green spaces to connect and escape to nature and the importance of local wildlife and plants. We have not included dog parks in the design in order to minimise disturbance to habitat and wildlife. Furthermore, kangaroos are found at these sites and so we have considered the possibility of kangaroo attacks on dogs and vice versa. Signage explaining these restrictions will be placed on site.
  • Merri-bek City Council are currently constructing three new dog parks in the northern part of the municipality to meet growing demand. Off lead space is also available nearby at Martin Reserve and Rupert Wallace Reserve.


  • The importance of local wildlife was made very clear in the first phase of community engagement. As such, lighting has not been considered in these designs as it can disrupt biodiversity and conservation values, particularly for nocturnal species.

Shelters (e.g. rotundas/gazebos)

  • As the spaces may occasionally flood during storm events, structures like rotundas and gazebos may encourage people to stay in the landscape during rain events which could expose them to flood conditions rather than evacuating to safer areas.
  • As such, we have not included shelters to protect visitors and minimise people becoming trapped in flood waters.


  • Toilets are not proposed in the draft concept plans as these locations are intended to serve the local community within walking distance to their homes.
  • There are public toilets provided by Council in the adjacent Martin Reserve and Rupert Wallace Reserve.

The decision and management of dog parks is undertaken in consultation with local councils, as the responsible open space manager, on a case-by-case basis. Each site is determined based on local conditions and values (e.g. presence of sensitive biodiversity) and the provision of options for dog parks within the context of the surrounding area.

The design presented in this phase of engagement (March 2024) is very close to what will be delivered.

However, technical investigations still need to be completed and so the designs are subject to change in the detailed design phase.

We’ll endeavour to limit any further changes to the plan based on the findings from these investigations and will continue to adhere to the project design principles; providing a safe place to connect to nature in any future designs.

Yes. The primary function of these spaces remains as flood retarding basins, ensuring that surrounding property and assets are not inundated during a flood.

As such there will be times during and after storm events when the water levels within these spaces will rise and then rapidly drain. Our designs consider the protection of assets and community whilst continuing to perform this vital function.

It’s important that visitors are informed of the dangers during these rare events and we’ll continue to partner with Council to ensure the safety of the community.

Melbourne Water and Merri-bek City Council will share responsibility for management of these green spaces.

Melbourne Water will continue to perform flood and drainage management which may require the closure or partial closure during storm events or during operations to maintain effectiveness of the drainage assets to perform.

We are also undertaking a collaborative approach with other key stakeholders. We're committed to working together to consider opportunities to increase open space in your local area.

You can share your ideas and feedback in the following ways:

  • Complete the online survey
  • Book a tour of the retarding basin sites on Saturday 23 March and meet the project team:
    • Jack Roper Reserve (CSL) at 11am
    • Campellfield Creek at 1pm
    • Box Forest Road at 3pm
  • Or ask the team a question online (on this page)

We are committed to listening to your ideas and values so that we deliver a project that is truly beneficial to your community.

Your ideas have been considered in the development of a draft concept plan. All ideas proposed were assessed with consideration of a number of important factors including environmental and cultural values and public safety, amongst others. For that reason, not all ideas are guaranteed to be delivered.

We are now seeking your additional feedback on the draft concept plans to further refine and deliver a final plan to ensure we deliver a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy. Have your say.

Following community input (August 2023) we have developed draft concept plans for the site, which are now open for further feedback.

Once the plans are finalised, each site will go through a detailed design funding approval phase, which can take 6-12 months.

Depending on the scope of work, a planning permit in accordance with the Merri-bek Planning Scheme may also be required. If the projects are approved, construction can be expected to follow in 12-18 months.

We will keep the local community around each site informed well in advance about any upcoming works.

The transformation of these retarding basins is intended to improve the environmental values of the sites by increasing vegetation and biodiversity, providing enhanced habitat, and places for the community to connect with nature.

Existing trees and native plants would be retained wherever possible, and protected during construction.

Works would be subject to the required planning permits and relevant local and state environmental protection regulations.

The activation of these sites will provide new open space in your local neighbourhood for your enjoyment and use by the local community.

During the construction phase there may be some minor disruption from noise or access along local streets.

We will endeavour to minimise disruption to local residents and keep you informed of any upcoming works.

Meet the project team

Dan Green

Senior Asset Planner, Land Programs

I lead our land and waterway activation programs. Ask me about the liveability and community benefits of activating Melbourne Water spaces.

Ellen Mitchell

Manager Service Programs Land & Catchments

I manage the team that delivers our land activation program. Ask me about our land activation programs and the community benefits.

Andrew Bailey smiling

Andrew Bailey

Lead Landscape Architect

Ask me questions about design and about what is possible for activating retarding basins for community use.

Yaniv Brayer

Communications and Engagement Advisor

I make sure you have everything you need in order to participate in this project. Ask me about ways to have your say on the project.

Melbourne Water respectfully acknowledges the Bunurong, Gunaikurnai, Taungurung, Wadawurrung and Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and water on which we rely and operate.
We pay our deepest respects to their Elders - past, present and emerging.