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Docklands still to connect with planet earth

30 Aug 2011

Two recent events suggest that Docklanders either don’t care or don’t know about opportunities to make a difference at a local level.

Sustainability educators Urban Reforestation last month reported indifferent findings from a year-long campaign to reduce organic waste in two apartment towers.

And meetings to discuss the design of a “longer-term” community garden have been poorly attended.

In its report on its Target 3008 project, Urban Reforestation claimed a positive result at Dock 5 but no real progress at Victoria Point.

It concluded that the proximity to Dock 5 and adoption by its residents of its garden at the Water Plaza site in Victoria Harbour may explain a good result.  And, conversely, it speculates that the 400 metre distance and major obstacle of Harbour Esplanade may help explain a poor result at Victoria Point.

Urban Reforestation audited the waste from both buildings at the start and the end of
the project.  

At Victoria Point organic weight increased from 19 per cent to 26 per cent of the total waste when measured by volume and from 30 per cent to 52 per cent when measured
by weight.

At Dock 5, the percentage of organic material in the total waste generated fell from 27 per cent to 9 per cent when measured by volume and from 61 per cent to 26 per cent when measured by weight.

But Urban Reforestation is upbeat about the future and points to the opportunities for improvement.  It is soon to suggest a series of measures to the owners’ corporations with a number of logistical suggestions to improve organic waste collection.

The City of Melbourne and VicUrban conducted two public sessions in August to involve residents in the design of Docklands’ new community garden, which is to be constructed by the end of this year at the corner of Geographe St and Keera Way in Victoria Harbour.

However, only three residents attended the first session on August 10 and only two residents attended the meeting on August 24, when draft design concepts were presented.

Urban Reforestation director Emily Ballantyne-Brodie said: “The project was about auditing and changing behaviours. So now we have a solid benchmark of the waste going in and out of each building. We have also piloted ways to address behaviour change, so we have some ideas on what works and what does not.”

One of the recommendations of the Target 3008 draft report is for more gardens in Docklands.

“There is a need for more gardens, with one for each apartment block. There is a lot of potential for further recycling programs by incorporating composting systems and roof top gardens in buildings as well as investing into community gardens in the public space. There is a strong connection between place-making, urban design and waste management,” the report said.

Ms Ballantyne-Brodie said she could envisage community composting bins in Docklands becoming a place where people meet and interact.

“The village well of tomorrow is the beautiful public composting bin!” she said.

A VicUrban spokesperson said:  “The community is invited to attend the third community event to view the proposed final community garden design and to provide final comments.  Construction is programmed to commence in October 2011.”

The final garden design will be presented at The Hub at 7 pm on September 7. To register to attend contact Karen Cowden on (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 8317 3677.

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