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Precinct Perspective - November 2019

29 Oct 2019

Yarra’s Edge - Precinct Perspective

By Keith Sutherland 

Having been on a recent holiday in Europe and Scandinavia, I observed many beautiful things and great ideas which I believe Melbourne could introduce.

You realise why Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world (sorry, Vienna) with its many attractions, arts and culture, fashion and food and, let’s not forget, it’s the sporting and events capital of the world.

The Yarra River is an under-utilised attraction with its murky water and we should be taking more pride and improving the water quality and attractiveness. Sydney has vast waterfront yet Melbourne does not so let’s make it better.

That’s why I believe we don’t need another bridge from Collins to Lorimer streets of which we already have eight bridges between Webb to Princess Bridges in the space of only two kilometres.

Since my last article Clifford Hayes MLC presented a petition on behalf of Yarra Residents Action Group to the Legislative Council requesting they consider two alternatives to the tram bridge. Since that time there has been another alternative plan using the existing North Wharf Bridge with the possibility of trackless trams which are the latest in transport technology.

Also, the Fishermans Bend Business Forum has another excellent alternative starting from Domain Interchange where the new Anzac Station is being constructed. Hopefully all four options will be considered and funded by the state government, which allocated $4.5 million towards exploring options in its last budget.

I’m sure all residents, businesses, the concrete industry and the Port of Melbourne want a satisfactory outcome and to remove any future uncertainty by providing transport services to the exciting new Fishermans Bend redevelopment. We need to eliminate the current highly expensive and destructive proposal in their current plans.

Some of the long-running issues confronting residents of Yarra’s Edge are skate boarders, hoon drivers and parking issues. They are issues that requires immediate attention by Victoria Police and council authorities.

Also, the council needs to install two extra plastic strips right along the boardwalk to better define an area for bikes/scooters and pedestrians and avoid possible accidents as there has been many near misses. The council also needs to provide residents with rules and usage information about the under-utilised community space.

I would love to see the council and state government looking at changing the unsightly concrete blocks used for security purposes and changing them for substantial attractive concrete flower planter boxes, as seen in photos taken in Oslo Norway. Unfortunately, we now live in a world that requires increased security and surveillance to guard against crazies and terrorism. Sadly, London Police are now carrying machine guns … hopefully that’s never required here.

With Melbourne’s population growing by almost 300 new residents per day and having increased by approximately 500,000 over the past four years, we are expected to outstrip Sydney’s population by 2026. So, it’s absolutely critical that we prepare for that event.

With the state government having embarked on a long overdue transport update of trains and trams, part of its transport strategy needs to make proper provision for safe bike and pedestrian needs. This needs to be coordinated with City of Melbourne who have just released its proposed plans.

I agree with most of the proposed council plans of road closures to vehicles and am quite disappointed with Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan’s negative approach to a congestion tax.

My final point is that the powers to be consider Yarra’s Edge as a separate suburb having its own post code 3007, which I believe is available. Southbank has 3006 and Docklands has 3008 so why not? We still will come under the Docklands precinct but, as an area, our population is growing rapidly and our area has some unique qualities that needs to be identified separately to the Docklands area.

Would love to get feedback on this proposal and any other ideas for my next column in the March 2020 edition.

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