You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the box below:

The People's Hospital for almost 70 years

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 Children's 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.

The question looming large for many in our community was '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. On the back of this, Council undertook its own conversation with the community in March 2024 to inform a draft Advocacy Plan to inform our approach to Government on future use of the site.

On 18 June 2024 Council adopted the Existing Footscray Hospital Advocacy Plan as its formal position for the future use and development of the current Footscray Hospital site, which, with the exception of a portion of the carpark that belongs to Council, is owned by the State Government.

Informed by feedback from residents, the Advocacy Plan outlines four key priority areas – access and movement, public open space, housing, and social infrastructure - and seeks to ensure ongoing community use for the site.

You can view the Council report and recommendations on our website, or read the endorsed Advocacy Plan.

What the community told us

We asked our community to provide feedback on a draft Advocacy Plan and initial site visioning over a four-week period from 25 March to 21 April 2024.

Two in-person sessions were held at the existing Footscray Hospital site on 10 and 13 April and feedback could also be provided online via a questionnaire on Council’s digital engagement platform, Your City Your Voice, or by email to the project team.

A total of 166 contributions were received to the online questionnaire. Key themes included:

  • strong support for informal open spaces and passive recreation, as well as walking and cycling infrastructure
  • some calls for more open spaces or exclusively open spaces
  • strong support for social and affordable housing with ambitious overall targets
  • some calls for lower-density housing and reduced building heights on the site
  • involvement of the local community in the future planning and design of the site
  • recognition and meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities.

You can read more in the Engagement Summary Report.

Council's Plan for the existing site

.Leveraging the findings from the State Government consultation with our community, and review of existing strategies and ideas presented by the Reimagining Old Footscray Hospital Community Group, Council prepared a draft Advocacy Plan to determine our approach to delivering on our community's hopes and aspirations for the site. The was shared with residents for their feedback in early 2024 prior to endorsement.

The Plan recognises the majority of the site, except for a portion of the car park that belongs to Council, is currently owned by the State Government. While they will ultimately have the final say on the site’s future, Council will be advocating on behalf of the community for:

  • a well connected street network that prioritises pedestrians and cyclists and integrates with the existing and proposed active transport network
  • a new 3.5 hectare municipal park supporting informal passive recreation with gathering spaces, walking and jogging infrastructure, native planting, and activated edges for passive surveillance
  • a minimum of 30 per cent affordable and social housing, thoughtfully designed with staggered three to eight storey buildings to create a distinct architectural identity and foster a sense of place
  • a range of social infrastructure, including a fit-for-purpose community facility to be developed from the existing Psychiatric building that supports a variety of community, arts and limited commercial uses, expanded childcare facilities, and mixed use spaces within residential buildings to support retail, hospitality and other services.

Site Visioning

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

Draft Site Visioning map with our initial ideas