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August 09 Edition Cover

Docklands gets a taste of its council candidates

04 Nov 2020

The Docklands Chamber of Commerce (DCC), supported by Docklands News, hosted a meet the Lord Mayoral candidates event via Zoom on Wednesday, October 7 ahead of the local council elections on October 24.

Moderated by DCC president Johanna Maxwell, the event was attended by candidates Sally Capp, Arron Wood, Jennifer Yang, Gary Morgan, Nick Russian, Phil Reed (Labor), Apsara Sabaratnam (The Greens) and Wayne Tseng. The Victorian Socialists candidate Kath Larkin, was a late apology due to illness.

While the Zoom format meant a short and sharp webinar, candidates were each given a chance to introduce themselves and their teams’ platforms, before Docklands-focused questions were put to each of them to answer.

Questions surrounding reactivation of Docklands, managing current and future development and leveraging Victoria Harbour and the water were posed by the DCC, with questions from locals covering issues such as Harbour Esplanade, Central Pier and Airbnb.

The election’s two main contenders incumbent Lord Mayor Sally Capp and incumbent Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood went toe-to-toe on a number of issues, with Ms Capp saying it was time for Docklands to “have its time in the sun”.

The Docklands resident said that, if re-elected, she would ensure a “bold approach” to reactivating the suburb as the city looked to rebuild from the second wave of COVID-19.

But Mr Wood, said Docklands should “build on its existing strengths” and that “vanity projects” like Ms Capp’s “Greenline” – a project looping the city with green space and pedestrian linkages – were drawing attention away from more important issues.

All candidates recognised Central Pier as a major area of need in the reactivation of the area, with Ms Capp saying the state government and the City of Melbourne needed to position it as one of the best piers in the world.

Gary Morgan made the case for a maritime museum to be established on the pier, while Labor’s Phil Reed floated ideas around wayfinding in Docklands, as well as a swimming pool in the harbour similar to Helsinki’s “sea pool”.

The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate Apsara Sabaratnam highlighted issues surround- ing transparent planning in Docklands and Development Victoria’s ongoing role in the precinct, arguing that too many decisions were made behind closed doors.

With COVID-19 seeing office workers vanish from Docklands in 2020, much was also discussed around how to draw them, and visitation, back to the area following the pandemic.

Many locals who tuned into the forum’s live chat feed complained about a lack of culinary options for locals along the waterfront, green space, family events and on-water activations in Victoria Harbour.

For more on the City of Melbourne elections read page 1.

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