Activation strategy in the works
By Sean Car
Development Victoria (DV) and the City of Melbourne are busy working behind the scenes on an activation strategy dedicated specifically for Docklands.
In response to the closure of Central Pier and the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on Docklands, DV has engaged the services of events and activations company Alto Cibum to lead the strategy investigations.
Consultations with stakeholders, including Docklands News, began in July and are expected to continue until mid-August, with a final report by Alto Cibum due to DV and the council by the end of the year. The company has previous experience in delivering events and strategies for the likes of the AFL, South Melbourne Markets, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and Luna Park.
Investigations are understood to be largely focused on the precinct surrounding Victoria Harbour and NewQuay in an effort to bring permanent and sustained activation to Docklands and its waterways.
While the challenges of COVID-19 present a great deal of uncertainty around future planning in the precinct, early feedback suggests a strong appetite for more community-driven activations that are both permanent and water-focused.
A number of key issues raised in early investigations have included a lack of car parking, community infrastructure and connectivity between the major precincts.
The Docklands Chamber of Commerce’s (DCC) proposal for a laser and light show, as reported in the February edition of Docklands News, is understood to be central to investigations.
DV group head Geoff Ward said work was continuing closely with the City of Melbourne to develop the strategy.
“Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne are working on an activation strategy for Docklands to offer Melburnians more day and night activities in the precinct, with the aim of increasing visitors post COVID-19,” he said.
“The first phase of the strategy is working with stakeholders to understand how they have been impacted by the drop in visitors and what ideas they have for future events and activities. That work is continuing.”
Lord Mayor and Docklands resident Sally Capp said the activation plan sought to leverage water transport, tourism and maritime heritage.
“Like many areas in our city, Docklands has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, particularly the reduction in workers and visitors coming into the precinct each day,” she said.
“As part of our annual plan, we are working with DV to identify initiatives that will increase visitation to Docklands and bring life back to the precinct once restrictions lift. This will culminate in an activation plan to leverage Docklands’ water transport, tourism and maritime heritage.”
DCC president Johanna Maxwell said that early consultations with Alto Cibum had been “really positive” and that it looked forward to continuing discussions with both local and state governments •