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Docklander - March 2015

05 Mar 2015

Docklander - March 2015 Image

Stan is a Docklands man

Docklands local Stan Liacos knows more than most about his suburb’s beginnings.

Mr Liacos spent two years working as the general manager of marketing communications and waterfront activities at the Docklands Authority, during the early days of urban redevelopment in the area

Today he works as executive director of the City of Greater Bendigo, but spends around two days a week living in Docklands.

For Mr Liacos, the changes he has seen in Docklands since the beginning of the urban renewal project have been monumental.

“About 12 or 13 years ago, the whole area we know as Docklands was totally and utterly out of range and fenced off,” Mr Liacos said.

“It didn’t exist in a public sense so it’s phenomenal to see what has happened in Docklands.”

According to Mr Liacos, Docklands is overwhelmingly a success story.

“It’s got great attractions like Docklands stadium and the waterfront but it’s also giving central Melbourne a spot where it can house say 10 or 20,000 residents within a five minute walk of the CBD,” he said.

“What’s making Melbourne vibrant now is the sheer number of residents now living here and the tourism.”

Mr Liacos said one of the most significant lessons he had learned from his time working in Docklands was ensuring the principles were right.

“One of the biggest ones for Docklands is that everywhere along the waterfront is there is at least a 15 metre setback from the water to where the buildings are.”

“So if you look at Docklands every bit of the waterfront is publicly accessible and I think it’s good there hasn’t been any private fencing off of the waterfront.”

With seven kilometres of waterfront in Docklands, Mr Liacos said this feature was important to Docklands’ success.

“The fact that there has been no privatisation of the waterfront has set Docklands up for a great future,” he said.

He also said further involvement of the City of Melbourne would benefit Docklands.

“I’ve now been round long enough to be able to comment and say the more involved the City of Melbourne is, the better,” Mr Liacos said.

“I believe the City of Melbourne is a better developer of public facilities and planning guidelines than the State Government.”

“I personally have enormous respect for the City of Melbourne’s planning team and am particularly in awe of their urban design team, headed up by Prof Rob Adams, who was my first ever boss.”

Living part-time in NewQuay, Mr Liacos said Docklands was the easiest part of central Melbourne to get in and out of from Bendigo, where his family lives most of the week.

“I’ve also enjoyed a long association and respect for the area,” Mr Liacos said. “Docklands is unfairly maligned by much of Melbourne’s chardonnay set.  The fundamentals of Docklands are terrific.”

He said the area had a “fabulous” waterfront and residential ambience, particularly at NewQuay.

“And it will only get better with time in my view,” he added.

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