Five floating wetlands are set to take over the middle of the Yarra River (Birrarung) – over the coming year – as part of a proposed $40 million council investment.

They’ll greenify a nearly 600-metre stretch of river just off the Northbank precinct to help return the river to a more natural state.

It’s part of the City of Melbourne’s draft 2022–23 budget, set to be delivered today, which also includes a further $140 million investment in the Greenline project over the next four years.

It’ll be “one of the largest networks of green spaces in Melbourne”, said Lord Mayor Sally Capp in a statement, “with a six-metre-wide promenade roughly the width of two traffic lanes”.

The “game-changing” project’s aim is to draw more people to the waterfront with an uninterrupted journey from the MCG to Docklands. With a plan likened to that of NYC’s High Line, it’s one of the largest developments Melbourne has undergone since Southbank Promenade was completed in 1990 and Fed Square opened in 2002.

The first milestone, an upgrade of Enterprize Park, was completed last month. At the new-look park, there’s an extra 1000 square metres of lush green lawn – almost as big as an Olympic swimming pool – with better views and access along the river.