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Docklands Community Association - February 2013

05 Feb 2013

Happy New Year and it is good to be back in touch.

The New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Docklands at midnight was the usual great show but council’s refusal to stage the 9.30 show for families was sad and there was disappointment.

The report by observers is that the crowd was down, certainly in NewQuay, which was only to be expected due to the 9.30 cancellation. I understand there was overcrowding at Yarra Park, with long queues for food and drink. 

Interestingly, a 10pm fireworks display which accompanied the carols in the piazza at Waterfront City on the Sunday night before Christmas, drew a huge crowd with no security issues.

We still believe the crowd management excuse given by council for the NYE 9.30 cancellation was flimsy and that the real reason was to save cost despite the negative impact.

Our DCA Christmas Party on December 5 was a great success with a record attendance of 83 people. The DCA also had a record sign-up of new members. We may consider holding another “meet and greet”mid-year.

Priorities for Docklands facilities/amenities which have been identified by the Community Forum include the provision of a school, waterways development and redevelopment of Harbour Esplanade. The need for a school is exacerbated by difficulty in getting children into schools in surrounding areas.

Regarding redevelopment of Harbour Esplanade, we are told that Places Victoria and the City of Melbourne are continuing to plan for the long-term future of the area and intend to liaise closely with the community as part of this process.

In the meantime, Places Victoria is progressing wharf demolition and rectification / civil infrastructure works to ensure the Esplanade’s safety in the short-term.  An application to Heritage Victoria was being prepared for these works.  As part of this process, Heritage Victoria requires the rectification works to be advertised for 14 days, which was scheduled to take place from Wednesday, January 23, with a sign appearing on-site.

The actual physical work on this large scale project is a fair way off. The preference of many is for a linear park from NewQuay to the Victoria Harbour Promenade. The question of what the stretch should have on it will be dealt with later. Suffice to say it will be the subject of vigorous debate, given what we know of council’s plans for sheds.

Our current Planning Minister Guy has put through building planning reforms last year called the VicSmart Bill which makes it easier for developers. Objections to VCAT are denied for large projects.

The Minister loves high-rise development. When we add the revelations regarding developer donations for recent council elections, what hope have we got in trying to get some balance with developments?

The Minister has recently approved two more residential towers to go on the western side of the piazza. Concerns relating to overshadowing, reduced open car parking, reduced open space, wind tunnel effects, etc are ignored. There is widespread protest from around Melbourne and suburbs to the legislative changes.

A comment from an officer of Places Victoria has thrown some light on the reason for the sterility in our area. The officer stated that Docklands is just an extension of the city with its layout of rows of buildings. Not good!  

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if they provided some public gardens but they haven’t, with the nearest being Flagstaff Gardens in West Melbourne.  Hence our push for a linear park on the Esplanade to compensate.

In any event, Docklands is not just an extension of the city but a new major waterfront living, working and recreation area which should be made for residents, workers and visitors to enjoy.

The next combined meeting of OC Chairs in the inner city and Docklands will be held in early March. Numerous topics include strata management, the Melbourne Planning Scheme and the effect on building committees of the current OC legislation will be discussed. OC networks in other states, which are more advanced, are keen for us to expand and join forces.

If any reader would like to become a member of the DCA or has any suggestions, they are welcome to call me on 0412 097 706.  You can also keep up via our website http://www.docklandscommunityassociation.com

Regards to all

Roger Gardner, President, DCA

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