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Precinct Perspective - October 2019

01 Oct 2019

Community representation for NewQuay

In my last article, some three editions back, I opened a discussion on a residents’ group in NewQuay.

There are already some ingredients for a community. NewQuay has a consistent group of people that reside there made of renters and owners. There are also people who work in apartments and short stay visitors. In NewQuay, each apartment block has an active body corporate committee, and has contracted a building management company and security company. Also, each building has several spaces rented to businesses or restaurants. However, there is minimal collaboration between residents of apartment blocks and even less collaboration with other Docklands residents. 

 The Docklands Community Forum is currently active but does not have a NewQuay representative. This forum currently has eight members and is looking to expand and recruit for 2020. Having a NewQuay representative on this forum will be useful. But perhaps the first step would be to get a NewQuay resident group going.

 What are the steps that need to be taken? Is this something that needs to be activated through social media? Or is it more suited to physical meetings where residents attend? Should there be a formalised committee that steers the group, and a chair that steers the meetings? Is it better suited to a round table meeting at one of the local restaurants, attended by at least one representative from each building? Such a group could send a representative to the Docklands Community Forum.

We are all aware that communities don’t just happen. They need to be forged and fostered. Events can create the excitement, but forums provide the space for ideas to be generated and problems to be addressed. Such forums create the space and potentially the bonds formed to carry meaningful ideas forward. The idea of a residents’ group in NewQuay is planting a seed for meaningful representation, direction and engagement on the Docklands Community Forum and within the group itself.

I asked around and received complaints, suggestions and requests from residents on the following issues:

  • The West Gate Tunnel project’s proposed bicycle track (i.e. the 2.5km veloway – a cycling highway from Footscray to Docklands) should be wider. 
  • The council needs to provide doggie poo bags, extra bins for cigarette butts and get the fireworks set off from the water.
  • The community should play an active role in ensuring owners clean up after their pets and participate in clean up days on the waterfront (noting the success of The Love Our Streets (LOS3008) campaign). NewQuay should continue to actively participate in these initiatives.
  • Residents need to receive contact details of each building’s security firms, appropriate council personnel (for example, to report damage to council property by skateboarders, or people dumping trolleys in the water). Should we have a one-stop shop we can direct these complaints to?
  • A dedicated police line and appropriate response from the police when the local shops are robbed or experience theft, or if there is a threat to personal safety.
  • More effort to slow down or report cyclists racing through the promenade.
  • Attracting more people to the restaurants on the foreshore, by making restaurant spaces smaller and more café like.
  • The walkway on the promenade towards the bridge and under the bridge, should be completed sooner.

I think that is a start. Clearly there is a need for engagement with several key stakeholders that have an interest in Docklands. What should the scope be and what sort of agenda is needed to get residents to step out and participate in a forum or start a group?

 And we are stepping out. I think we are really pleased with the longer daylight, and the hint of warmer weather. The sun is shining brighter and spring is here in our NewQuay village. Our village life is increasingly a reality with the opening of the fresh food market and Woolworths. We are already taking advantage of Hoyts, the District and Costco.

 We are keeping abreast of progress. We are also looking forward to new developments that are earmarked, such as the new primary school and apartment blocks. More families, more residents and more opportunities for our community. What are your suggestions for changes, improvements and a resident group? Please write to Docklands News.

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