Secret Yarra River plan revealed
The Victorian Government has agreed to participate in a historic project to improve Melbourne's appearance and encourage tourists to view the city as an environmentally progressive centre for innovation.
Under a secret agreement with the Melbourne City Council to be officially announced next week, a section of the Yarra River is to be permanently transformed using carbon-fibre matting that will turn the mud-coloured river blue.
The agreement negotiated over the past year between Premier Daniel Andrews and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle will see more than 500,000 giant sheets of light-coloured 'Fopia Roll' - a pliable but dense form of hi-tech matting developed by the CSIRO for the mining industry.
A reliable source has told OnlyMelbourne that the deal between the State Government and the city council will address a major criticism of tourists visiting the city - that the Yarra looks polluted thanks to the high content of soil it carries.
Fopia Roll, which is porous, was designed to be laid on mining haulroads to minimise problems caused by dust. Its light colour also allows haultruck drivers to more accurately discern the edges of access roads.
Only Melbourne's source says the Fopia Roll is being fabricated in China and will be supplied in 50-metre wide rolls.
It will be laid underwater from bank to bank in a section of the river beginning at the Swan Street bridge and extending right through the city to a point downstream from the Bolte Bridge.
Filters will also be built just before the Swan Street Bridge to take heavier soil content out of the river water.
'The light colour of the Fopia Roll will make the river look blue, just as white tiles in a swimming pool make the pool water look blue,' he said.
'The document I have seen states that the project is priced at about $145 million, with the cost to be met in equal parts by the Victorian Government and the city council.
'The preamble to the document I have seen says visitors to the city are always critical of the muddy colour of the river, and there is widespread agreement that this leads to an impression that Melbourne is an industrial centre and not an attractive tourism centre.
'The use of this revolutionary Fopia Roll is an opportunity to show what Australian industry can do, and visitors will gain a much more positive impression of Melbourne as a clean and green centre of excellence.'
Only Melbourne understands the project will be officially announced next week when Mr Andrews and Mr Doyle will hold a joint press conference on the banks of the Yarra River.
April Fool's Day 2016
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