Mooroolbark Pop-Up Community Garden

  • Project typeStreetscape Improvements
  • Project value$70,000
  • Project scheduleDesign and Construction Phase
  • Completion Date15 September 2023

About the project

Following the completion of the Mooroolbark Railway Station and Carpark project, the Council owned block on the corner of Charles and Station Streets in Mooroolbark that was used as temporary parking has become available for other purposes.

The long-term use of this site will be considered in the broader planning for Mooroolbark currently scheduled for 2024-2028, but in the short term, Council have decided to activate the space with a temporary, pop-up project for the community.

After some initial consultation with local traders and community groups, there was support to create a pop-up community garden on this site, with a longer-term objective of finding a permanent home for it elsewhere in Mooroolbark once the broader planning process of the site is complete.

Council has allocated funding to develop the community garden from the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP). This LXRP funding is set aside for community projects and not traditional Council funding so this project will have no impact on other Council projects or works and must be used exclusively in Mooroolbark. 

The Background

Mooroolbark has experienced a significant transformation over the past few years with unprecedented investment driven by the Mooroolbark Station Precinct and Multideck Carpark projects funded through the State Government.

Works are now completed and the temporary car park on the corner of Charles and Station Street land is only used by a small number of cars.

Because this space is now underutilised, it is an opportune time to reclaim it as public open space.

In considering how to best utilise this Council owned, gravel carpark, it was decided that with more detailed planning already scheduled for 2024-2028, in the meantime it would be an opportunity to consider a temporary “pop-up” activation and usage.

The broader consultation and development of plans for Mooroolbarks future development will look across the whole of the town’s activity centre for options and opportunities to support future needs.

In November 2022, an occupancy survey of the site confirmed that the space was no longer required for parking, with ample parking available across the centre, including at the newly developed Mooroolbark Railway Station.

To progress this opportunity for a pop-up community space, preliminary consultation was undertaken with local trader, community, senior and education groups as well as representatives of local organisations in late 2022 and early 2023.

This engagement asked the question; “How could the old gravel carpark on Station Street, Mooroolbark be activated for broader public use?”

This consultation supplied a range of possible interim and temporary opportunities to activate this site prior to the broader consultation in coming years.


What we heard

Activate and make use of this space – There was consistent support to change the use of this land from car parking to a positive activation for community. 

Youth Activity – Active spaces for youth are lacking in the activity centre. These spaces could offer a sense of belonging, youth would like spaces for social activity. 

Suggestions of basketball half court, small soccer pitch or skateboard ramp were put forward.

A public stage or amphitheatre for regular community events and space for food trucks.

Exercise Equipment – There was a small amount of interest for outdoor exercise equipment, particularly equipment designed to support healthy and active ageing. 

Gathering Spaces – Gathering spaces and accessible seating were a consistent theme. Community wants the opportunity to enjoy the space by being actively engaged in an activity or just to passively enjoy it.

Community Gardening – There is an active community gardening group that have established themselves as Mooroolbark Transformations (also known as the Mooroolbark Community Garden Group – MCG Group).

The group currently have use of two planters outside the Mooroolbark Library. The library run several horticultural clubs that attract ongoing attendance and interest.

Senior Citizens Group members, Kindergarten and other community groups families have shown interest in being involved in a centre-based community garden. 

During the consultation there were no objections to the Community Garden concept, however it was noted that it is important to community that this space remains open to all community and not be locked and for club use only. Vandalism was also noted as a possible issue.


Decision for a Pop-Up Community Garden Space

The Mooroolbark Community Garden was the best supported idea presented based on cost, ability to be a temporary installation until further consultation could be undertaken, and able to commence operation quite quickly.

Funding to support the initial construction and setup was made available via the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP).

This LXRP funding is specifically tied to funding for a project or projects in Mooroolbark.

LXRP funding is not Council funding, but rather funding Council is required to administer that can’t be used for other township maintenance works that would normally be funded via Council’s annual budget.

The $70,000 LXRP funding was committed by Council’s Executive Team to be used to develop a shared masterplan and construct key elements of the community garden.

The funding is focused on the site development and council will provide in-kind support in facilitating and managing the project.

The development of the site will be a co-design project where the Mooroolbark Community Garden Group and Council will develop a shared vision and design based on the available funding.

Works will be undertaken under Council supervision and on completion, and the space will be formally leased to the Mooroolbark Community Garden Group.

Project Outcomes and Opportunities

Temporary activation of the vacant land that was a temporary carpark for the benefit of local community.

The Mooroolbark Community Garden will provide an opportunity for community groups to participate together in a community garden which will provide:

  • Locally grown, organic, ethical, environmentally friendly, healthy, sustainable, and self-funded community food source.
  • A sustainable food production education opportunity for local people.
  • A place of being and sharing skills, knowledge, and ideas for local community members of all ages, genders, ethnicity, and abilities.
  • A social connection for people who may not be well connected to others and friendships to flourish.
  • A classroom / outdoor education space
  • Potential local seed bank 



location - mooroolbark pop up garden.png


Project Timeline



Initial Concept Drawings and design options developed

Planned June and Early July 2023

Engagement with local traders and neighbours

Planned Early July 2023

Works Commence

Planned Late July 2023

Works Complete

Planned Early September 2023

Site Open as “Mooroolbark Community Garden”

Planned September 2023


Project Updates and Photo Gallery 

1st July – 2023

Work on the final agreed design is complete. We are collecting prices for each of the elements including from contractors to do these works.

We are contacting the neighbours of this site and providing them with information. The site will be secured with “Jersey Barriers” which will remain in place while the pop-up garden is operating on this site to ensure children on the site (with parents, from local kinder or childcare or school groups) remain within the confines of the site for safety.

Work on the garden beds, compost and materials storage spaces, secure lockup sheds, sheltered education and community space and parklet delivery are planned for later this month and early August