Altona Pier Redevelopment
Altona Pier is a focal point for Melbourne's western suburbs and the main public pier between Werribee South and Port Melbourne, drawing large numbers of people from across Melbourne. Year-round anglers enjoy fishing from the pier, taking advantage of the artificial reefs within casting distance, improving the chance of a great catch of flathead and snapper. The nearby Altona Beach is a family friendly beach popular for swimming and kite boarding.
The original timber pier at Altona was built in the late 1800s, with significant repair works carried out in the 1980s. The pier is nearing the end of its design life and signs of structural failure pose a risk to public safety. To best cater for current and future community needs and ensure long term sustainability, a replacement is the most viable option.
A consultation process was undertaken in mid-2020 on three designs, with more than 60 per cent of respondents choosing the option with an angled pier head as the preferred design. Preparation of the detailed designs based on the preferred concept design option will mark the next milestone of this project.
Funding has been committed by the Victorian Government under the $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages to revitalise the precinct and improve accessibility for the future.
Project partner and funding
Department of Transport
The Altona Pier redevelopment is part of the Victorian Government’s $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages under the Better Piers and Waterside Facilities initiative.
Funding announced: July 2020 completed
Design options community consultation: July – August 2020 completed
Schematic designs released: May 2022 completed
Detailed design commences: October 2021
Detailed design released: Mid 2022
Construction commences: Late 2022
Construction completed: Late 2023
Altona Pier, on Bunurong Sea Country, is being redeveloped as part of the Victorian Government’s construction blitz to create new jobs across Victoria and ensure the pier remains an accessible and safe place for locals and visitors to enjoy. The $24 million Piers and Jetties Stimulus Packages will support significant maintenance and safety upgrades to piers and jetties across Port Phillip and Western Port, including Altona, Tooradin, Rye, Queenscliff South, Portarlington and Middle Brighton piers.
Following the completion of community engagement in mid-2020 and selection of the community's preferred concept design, the design tender process began in July 2021. The process concluded with the appointment of Jackson Clements Burrows Architects together with AW Maritime marine engineers and Site Office Landscape Architects.
Once complete, the new pier design will provide improved recreational space for more people to enjoy. Its modern y-shaped head providing large functional community space, as well as better access for people fishing and walking at Altona Beach, is sure to be the envy of pier lovers. View the Altona Pier - Community Consultation Summary Report for further details.
The detailed design for the new pier will draw on key features from the community preferred concept design and schematic designs including:
- a modern look, y-shaped pier head which aligns with Pier Street, providing a connection to the historical elements of the pier’s heritage.
- timber pier deck
- lighting to ensure safe pedestrian access
- an accessible lower landing providing connection to the water for swimming and recreational boating
- the pier head junction provides space for emergency vehicles to turn safely
- space for fishing, boating and pedestrians
Image - Schematic design of Altona Pier. Flyover view from Altona Foreshore.
Image - Schematic design of Altona Pier. View towards Altona Foreshore.
Image - Schematic design of Altona Pier. Outer pier and turning bay.
Image - Schematic design of Altona Pier's accessible lower landing.
Parks Victoria is the local port manager for Port Phillip, Western Port and Port Campbell. The three local ports combined receive approximately 80 million visits a year, and include 263,000 hectares of waterway, marine protected areas, channels, piers and jetties, moorings and aids to navigation.
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Frequently asked questions
Why does the Altona Pier need to be replaced?
The original timber pier at Altona was built in the late 1800s, with significant repair works carried out in the 1980s. The current structure is now nearing the end of its functional life. To best cater for current and future community needs and ensure long term sustainability, a replacement is the most viable option.
When will the new pier be built?
At this early stage of design, a construction timeline cannot be provided. Detailed design, further planning, statutory approvals and procurement will be undertaken before a completion date is determined. As a guide, a detailed design is expected to be released for viewing in mid 2022, with construction to commence late 2022 and finish in late 2023.
Will the current pier be closed during construction of the new pier?
Altona Pier was damaged in a severe storm on Wednesday 9 June 2021, when the low landing broke away. The pier is partially closed for public safety. For now, the first 130 metres of the pier remains but at some stage access will be closed to allow existing timber to be assessed, salvaged and milled for reuse in the new pier.
Will the current pier be demolished before the new pier is built?
During community consultation on the concept design for the new Altona Pier, the community told us that salvaging materials from the existing structure for use in public art, sculpture or furnishings of the new pier is the most favoured option to maintain the historical value of the historic pier. To achieve this, the existing pier timber needs to be dismantled to allow timber to be assessed, salvaged and milled to be able to be reused and incorporated into the new pier in non-structural elements . The salvage process takes time and requires careful planning, therefore the existing pier is proposed to be demolished in order to identify the quantity and quality of salvageable materials for incorporation in the new design which will connect the new Altona Pier to its historic predecessor.
How was the design determined?
Parks Victoria engaged with the community and key stakeholders in July and August 2020 to gain feedback to help inform a future design and support decisions about the pier. More than 1,200 people provided feedback on three concept designs with more than 60 per cent choosing Option 3 with an angled pier head as the preferred design. Further design investigations have since revealed a number of constraints and opportunities which have shaped the concept design evolution, resulting in Option 3.a. Whilst the spirit of the Option 3 design selected by the community has been maintained via the proposed Pier St realignment and angled pier head, alterations have been proposed to ensure suitable pier and lower landing levels, sight lines and permeability, safety considerations and zoning of activities. The Community Engagement Summary Report can be viewed above, in the Related News section.
Is Altona Pier heritage listed?
The pier is not listed on the Heritage Victoria inventory list. The Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay HO255 includes the pier for its local historical and aesthetic significance to the City of Hobsons Bay. Given the heritage overlay, statutory approvals are required to be obtained. Parks Victoria has undertaken a heritage impact assessment and will continue to work with Hobsons Bay Council to integrate and share the history of the pier with the community.
How are the heritage values of the old pier and precinct being considered?
Whilst the current pier does not contain all its original fabric, with its rejuvenation in the 1980s, Parks Victoria recognises the heritage value the pier contributes to the precinct character and is committed to ensuring these values are preserved through appropriate management. While the broad values associated with the area will be preserved, the current pier will be removed to allow for the new pier. During the detailed design phase, those same heritage values will be considered in a heritage interpretation plan that will ensure the historical significance of the pier precinct is preserved and shared for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
What approvals are required to build the new and remove the current pier?
As the pier is subject to a heritage overlay, planning approval to demolish the old pier may be required from the relevant statutory planning authority which is the Hobsons Bay Council. Marine and Coastal Act 2018 Consent from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is also required given the asset is located on Crown land and in close proximity to the coast.
What is happening with the timber from the existing Pier?
Parks Victoria will aim to recycle and reuse as much of the timber for reuse in the new pier. Timber will not be available for purchase by members of the public.
What connection to the foreshore will the new Altona Pier have?
Unlike the existing Altona Pier, the new pier will be aligned to Pier Street, providing an improved visual connection to the iconic Altona foreshore. The new pier is planned to complement Hobsons Bay City Council’s Altona Foreshore Redevelopment project, which includes upgrades to improve shade, vegetation and coastal habitat at the main beach entry at Altona Pier, as well as providing new amenities including beach showers, bike hoops and public art to activate the vibrant space. The Foreshore project is funded by the Victorian Government.