EcoCentre Building Upgrade - FAQs

City of Port Phillip, in conjunction with the Victorian Government, is upgrading the EcoCentre building so it is more functional and sustainable. During the works, the EcoCentre will relocate to the Cora Graves Community Centre adjacent to the gardens. Construction timeline: April 2022 to mid-2023

Since 1999, the Port Phillip EcoCentre has delivered education, programs and services to more than 19,000 participants annually. The popularity of the EcoCentre over this time has seen it outgrow its current building which is no longer fit for purpose. A new building will increase the EcoCentre’s ability to deliver sustainability programs, meet compliance requirements, and provide a leading example of environmentally sustainable design. It offers a larger space for the community to book, and includes Australia’s first Citizen Science Lab.

Yes! The EcoCentre is a community facility, with bookable meeting and event spaces downstairs. Venue users are supported to hold sustainable and zero-waste events.

For specific information on the EcoCentre redevelopment, contact the City of Port Phillip ASSIST phone line: 03 9209 6777. ASSIST is available Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm. Phone calls out of these hours will divert to our after-hours service where you can request a call back during business hours.

We will be operating across the street from the St Kilda Botanic Gardens, at the Cora Graves Community Centre: 38 Blessington St, St Kilda VIC 3182. You can continue to get in touch with us using the same phone number (03) 9534 0670.

Affiliated groups may continue to meet in the temporary EcoCentre, which has a number of meeting rooms available, such as a large communal kitchen, outdoor sitting areas, disability access and toilets. The EcoCentre will continue to run a community gardening group at the temporary centre.

In 2020, City of Port Phillip engaged Bourke + Bouteloup Architects. View the latest EcoCentre Redevelopment designs (PDF).

The Botanic Gardens site is most appropriate due to access to the bay and public transport, as well as being the site of the existing centre. 

Designed to operate with net zero energy and water usage, the project is also targeting a 6 Star GBCA Green Star (as-built) rating. The new construction has been designed to join an exclusive club of only 500 buildings worldwide that produce more clean energy than it consumes, offsetting all embodied carbon used during construction. The timber within the building has been specifically sourced to protect biodiversity. The structure, services and materials used in the build will aim to provide a ‘net positive’ effect for the local environment.

Showcasing state-of-the-art sustainable building practises and technology, the EcoCentre aims to achieve a 6 Star Green Star ‘World Leadership’ rating. The new EcoCentre will be a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) structure with a highly-insulated thermal envelope. The new site will be fully electric, with PV and energy storage for minimal reliance on the grid. It will also have high levels of indoor environmental quality (IEQ), using Passive House principles with locally sourced and readily available technologies. The EcoCentre will continue its focus on the conservation of indigenous plants of the ‘Sandbelt’ region, growing onsite and by supporting propagation and replanting of local native plants.

Because the Botanic Gardens is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, this project requires a heritage permit to ensure that the new building does not impact the heritage significance of the gardens. Heritage Victoria has reviewed the plans for the redevelopment and, following a statutory advertised public consultation process in August / September 2020, have provided a Heritage permit for the construction works.The consultant team includes a heritage consultant who will be actively working with Heritage Victoria to ensure the permit requirements are met.

The new EcoCentre will be built on the site of the old EcoCentre. The old EcoCentre will be demolished by Council contractors adhering to Green Star standards, including the reuse or recycling of all construction materials, fittings and cabinetry. A range of materials will be re-used in the new building design.

We expect to move into the new EcoCentre hub in late 2023. To see how the building is progressing, subscribe to our social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You can also follow construction updates on the City of Port Phillip project page: EcoCentre redevelopment – City of Port Phillip

City of Port Phillip and the Victorian State Government have each committed $2.75 million to capital costs. We are seeking contributions from philanthropy, business and community to help us with the furnishings, specialist equipment and program expansion. Please get in touch with April Seymore, Executive Officer, to discuss opportunities.

A number of activities and tools were used to reach the community and seek input and feedback. This included a drop-in session with approximately 30 participants, a survey with over 270 responses, postcards delivered to local residents, social media posts and newsletters.

The Womindjeka garden at the front of the EcoCentre will be preserved as part of the build. Some trees, such as the large cumquat and willow myrtle in the community garden will be protected and integrated into the new design. However, the community garden, including compost bays, will close temporarily during construction.  The community garden group will move to the temporary EcoCentre where the focus will be on container gardening, and community greening offsite. Our Gardening Group are always open to new members – sign up to join our upcoming volunteer info session via EcoCentre.com/volunteer

We recommend the Sharewaste app to find compost options near you. City of Port Phillip offers communal food and garden waste (FOGO) recycling hubs as an opportunity to dispose of any food scraps and leftovers, find out more and view FOGO locations here.

St Kilda Adventure Playground (Neptune St, St Kilda VIC 3182). Refer to the linked website for open hours.

The St Kilda Botanical Gardens was first established in the 1800s. Exotic forest trees were planted during the 1870s and Australian species were included in 1932. Registered with Heritage Victoria, the gardens contain 810 mature tree specimens, eight of which are on the significant tree register. Visit the City of Port Phillip website for more on the St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

The glasshouse is run by Friends of St Kilda Botanical Gardens and is open from 3 pm to 5 pm on Saturdays. Visit the Friends of St Kilda Botanical Gardens website.

The EcoCentre respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this land, the people of the Kulin Nations. We pay our respect to their Elders, past and present. We acknowledge and uphold their continuing relationship to this land.

 The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 recognises Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP) as the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage. The Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) for the area that City of Port Phillip covers are The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. The Boonwurrung Foundation is another First Nations organisation in the City of Port Phillip. Learn more about First Peoples’ community information in Port Phillip here.

The Port Phillip EcoCentre Building Upgrade is supported by the Victorian Government and the City of Port Phillip.

The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located.

We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.