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Docklands infrastructure requirements

02 Oct 2009

Docklands is a wonderful place with an exciting future. Since its inception 10 years ago, too little attention has been placed on urban planning. The priority of the State Government and its Docklands authorities has been focused on building and commercial development. As a result, little infrastructure, apart from public transport, has been provided.

Since the City of Melbourne became involved in service provision in Docklands in July 2007 its authority has been limited and the Planning Minister’s announcement that the council will be given increased responsibility for planning has been welcomed by residents. What specific planning power are yet to be identified and, of course, it remains to be seen how much will be achieved, given that the three power structure of the Docklands Co-ordination Committee will still apply, whereby decision-making is shared with VicUrban and the State Government.

The infrastructure we are still waiting for includes such things as parks and gardens, land-based recreation and sporting facilities, art and culture facilities, a theatre, community centre, community boating hub, visitor parking, taxi movement arrangements and others. It is a sad indictment that after seven or more years of occupation there is virtually nowhere you can sit under a shady tree in any sort of a park. This infrastructure will also benefit visitors and, to some extent, workers. The redevelopment of the busy Harbour Esplanade will be good – but is only a start.

Our big concern is that we are all the time waging a rearguard action to get these things and there is hardly any land left to utilise. At present there are only token pieces of public green space to be seen. We are told that a villa development at NewQuay West will include some internal green space provided by the developer, but apparently the only public open space of any size left is at the end of Docklands Drive at, or under, the Bolte Bridge, which is not exactly a prize location.

Given that the Docklands population is projected to grow from 6000 now to 17,000 by 2020 and the workforce from 19,000 to 40,000, it is imperative that what suitable land is left be immediately reserved. One way out is the land across Footscray Rd which will become available when the railway freight areas are moved, as planned by the State Government. They have mooted low cost housing but it is a clear opportunity exists to include space for public usage.

We all want to see Docklands achieve its full potential and cater for all needs and the DCA will play its part in helping towards achieving those ends. We will be putting forward further ideas.

And don’t forget our upcoming functions for members:

  • Our barbecue at Docklands Park on October 25; and
  • Our Christmas Party at The Hub on December 11.

Roger Gardner
President
Docklands Community Association

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