Elizabeth Bridge House upgrades transform it into new community hub

Yarra Ranges Shire Council

Elizabeth Bridge Reserve House with Valley Care, Cr Len Cox and Japara staff.jpg

Several Yarra Ranges Council teams have come together with the community to revitalise Elizabeth Bridge House, breathing new life into the community space.

Over the past 18 months, the gardens surrounding Elizabeth Bridge House in Kilsyth have undergone a remarkable transformation.

The Infrastructure Services team from Council focused on enhancing accessible pathways, while the Trees team evaluated and cleared trees. Urban Parks took charge of the landscaping, and the Operations and Assets team implemented significant upgrades to the fencing.

This comprehensive effort not only enhanced the presentation of the House gardens but also improved accessibility for the growing number of visitors.

For Japara board chair Mark Doubleday, the works have provided a meaningful facility with complete accessibility for the community.

Creating a community garden requires a united effort. Japara functions as a village, driven by

“It takes a community to build a community garden and we’ve had so many volunteers and community groups join us to lend their time and help us build this incredible community hub.”

“Without Council we would not have got to where we are – a garden that can host all abilities events – children and families – food harvest and programs to come.”

revitalised Elizabeth Bridge House.jpg

Japara’s community engagement coordinator Christie Humble said part of the vision was the ability to connect people to services and groups and that horticulture and garden students from Valley Care had been assisting in the garden’s transformation too.

“What’s exciting too, is that a lot of the spaces we’re seeing will be used for multi-purpose and now it’s going to be that people can come in and they can have a program here but then they might learn about the food cupboard, or they might learn about Valley Care,” she said.

“We’re creating these different avenues and this village across this site and the hub where people have these different points of contact and connection with various community groups and services.”

Elizabeth Bridge Reserve House.jpg

Yarra Ranges councillor Len Cox was part of the council team who decided to purchase Elizabeth Bridge House and said it was a privilege to see the improvements.

“It might not have been fully realised back then, but having this facility adjacent to a reserve like this is truly invaluable. We’re already made several upgrades to improve the reserve and the number of people who frequent this place regularly is on the rise, so it really coincides well with the improvements made at the Elizabeth Bridge House” Cr Cox said.

“This site has experienced ebbs and flows over the years, but it’s undeniably making a remarkable comeback. It looks fantastic, and the best part is, it’s not even fully completed yet. Everyone involved should take great pride in what has been achieved here.”

The project received financial support from the Growing Suburbs grant.

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