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Editions

Draft budget funding for Docklands

29 May 2012

Draft budget funding for Docklands Image

By Daniel Kemp

The City of Melbourne unveiled its draft annual plan and budget 2012-13 on May 11, featuring a significant amount of funding for Docklands.

The biggest project set to receive funding is the new Docklands library and community centre. The development will be located at the intersection where Collins St will soon meet Bourke St, and is set to cost $12.95 million – $4.75 million of which will come from the council.

One of the budget’s key themes is “Finishing What We Started” – and the library and community centre form a major part of this aim. By June 30, 2013, the council aims to have completed construction of the base building and to have commenced fitting it out.

Another theme is “Connecting People and Places,” with funding set aside to improve the city’s transport connections. Of most relevance to Docklands is the $5.6 million project to extend the city’s bicycle network.

The Capital City Trail runs right through Docklands and is the second-most popular cycle commuter route into the central city. The route has a number of missing links and substandard crossings at present – but a proposed connection underneath the Charles Grimes Bridge would allow cyclists and pedestrians to bypass the interchange between the bridge, Lorimer St, Westgate Freeway and Montague St.

This intersection does not currently have any cycle paths and pedestrian wait times to cross are lengthy. The targeted completion date for the project is June 30, 2013. Councillor Cathy Oke stated that the proposed cycle lane upgrades would fill in the missing gaps in the network.

“This $5.6 million will help us establish a superior, connected cycling network for Melbourne that will enable cyclists to travel from one end of the city to the other and beyond on clear, delineated bike paths,” Cr Oke said.

The budget also set aside funding for new Christmas decorations in Docklands, a taxi rank shelter at Central Pier, and additional wayfinding signage for pedestrians. Additionally, it was announced that commercial berthing rates for Victoria Harbour would decrease by $35 per metre, per annum to $630.

Cr Kevin Louey rejected suggestions that the $100,000 taxi shelter would only benefit Central Pier businesses.  He said he expected restaurant patrons from as far away as NewQuay and Waterfront City would use the shelter.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle emphasised that Melbourne had grown and changed during this council’s term, and that completing already commenced works was a priority.

“This budget is about finishing the work that we have started while ensuring that we maintain the momentum to improve our expanding city,” the Lord Mayor said.

The draft budget was open for public consultation from May 11 until June 8. A final version will be considered by council on June 28.

Cr Jackie Watts encouraged Docklanders to examine the budget and to give their feedback.

“The format is reasonably accessible and, given that I am a staunch advocate of  transparency and disclosure, the budget document provides an enormous amount of information about council’s operations and, most importantly, its policy directions,” she said.

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