The People's Hospital for almost 70 years

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the conversation. We are now considering your feedback.

The existing Footscray Hospital, also known as the 'People's Hospital', has been a mainstay in our community for almost 70 years. In 1953, after almost 34 years of community effort, the Footscray and District Hospital (as it was previously called) was officially opened.

The existing Hospital site has expanded over time to include other facilities such as the former psychiatric centre, Western Private Hospital, Brenbeal Childrens Centre, the Orygen Youth Mental Health and most recently, the Berbert Pop-Up Park.

More recently in 2019, the State Government committed $1.5 billion to construct a new Footscray Hospital on Ballarat and Geelong roads, with construction expected to be completed by 2025.

What's next for the existing Hospital site?

The question, looming large for many in our community, is what will happen to the land and buildings when the new hospital is commissioned?

In 2023, the State Government commenced community consultation to discuss future opportunities for the existing Footscray Hospital site. Based on preliminary data received from the State Government conversation, there were calls from the community for:

  • open space and greening of streetscapes
  • walking and cycling infrastructure
  • passive recreation, gathering spaces, arts and culture
  • affordable and diverse housing
  • small local businesses
  • no profit driven development with poor quality and low amenity outcomes
  • the site to not be vacant for a period of time or hazardous

As the site is owned by the State Government, except for a portion of the car park that belongs to Council, we currently have no authority to decide how the state land might be used in the future. We can, however, advocate on behalf of the community and provide our ideas and opportunities on how to repurpose the site, should it become available.

Council's draft Advocacy Plan for the existing site

Council has prepared a draft Advocacy Plan to outline our community's hopes and aspirations for the site. This has been informed by initial community feedback from the State Government's consultation, review of existing Council strategies, as well as ideas presented by community groups, including the Reimagining Old Footscray Hospital Community Group.

The draft Advocacy Plan focusses on four key priority areas as identified by existing Council Strategies: Open Space, Access and Movement, Housing, and Social Infrastructure, recognising there are some constraints with what can be achieved given much of the grounds are a former quarry.

We are keen to share our initial thinking with you around opportunities for the use of the existing Footscray Hospital site. You can view a copy of the draft Advocacy Plan in the document library or read our initial recommendations and draft site visioning below if you're short on time.

Your feedback will help inform a final Existing Footscray Hospital Advocacy Plan, which will be presented to Council for endorsement in June.

While the State Government will ultimately have the final say, if we can put up a good case there may be an opportunity for the site to be handed over to Council (at least in part) for community use that benefits existing and future residents.

Our initial recommendations

  • Access and Movement

    • Integrate the site with the existing movement network and proposed active transport network.
    • Create safe, direct and accessible walking links through the site that link to surrounding networks.
    • Prioritise high level pedestrian amenity, cycling infrastructure and limit vehicle access through the site.
    • Improve accessibility, capacity, priority and frequency of public transport routes.
    • Encourage and prioritise sustainable transport options.
  • Public Open Space

    • Enhance the open space network in Maribyrnong.
    • Create attractive and vibrant public open spaces.
    • Preserve significant trees and increase canopy coverage.
    • Create links between existing and new open spaces in Footscray and West Footscray.
    • Ensure all future users of the site have convenient and safe access to and through public spaces.
    • Establish and support activity at the edges of public spaces.
  • Housing

    • Encourage housing diversity and affordability through innovative ways.
    • Establish sense of place and community.
    • Healthy houses - i.e minimum seven stars NatHERS rating, environmentally sensitive design and ageing in place principles.
  • Social Infrastructure

    • Support healthy communities with services located nearby and strong community programs on the site.
    • Support mixed use and adaptive reuse of the former psychiatric building.
    • Community advocacy for grants to support innovative grassroots and social enterprise opportunities for our local community.

Draft Site Visioning

See below our draft visioning for the existing Footscray Hospital site.

Draft Site Visioning map with our initial ideas