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Editions

Good news on Seafarers Rest

03 Jun 2010

The State Government has assured the future of Seafarers Rest Park on North Wharf following an outcry by local residents.

Last month Docklands News reported that the park had been offered to developers as part of a registration of interest (RoI) process.

The Government says it was never its intention that public parkland be lost but it had been open to suggestions from developers for better options for public open space.

Since the public outcry, it has backed away from suggestions that the park could be rezoned from public open space to capital city zone 1 and has informed respondents to the RoI that the park has to stay in its current location and size.  It also now says the land will not be rezoned.

Local MP and Education Minister, Bronwyn Pike, told Docklands News: “I can reassure you that the Victorian Government has no intention of getting rid of, or indeed, reducing the size of Seafarers Rest.”

“While it is anticipated new businesses and residents will come to North Wharf as part of the redevelopment, retaining Seafarers Rest as public open space is non-negotiable.”

Ms Pike said she could see why local residents feared the park was under threat and blamed “inadequate communication”.

After learning of the issue at a meeting with Docklands residents on April 28, Ms Pike took the matter up with Finance Minister Tim Holding.

She said Mr Holding “clarified” the Government’s position that the park would be retained and not reduced in size.

Flinders Wharf resident Tom McNair said Ms Pike had told him officers within the Department of Treasury and Finance had been “trigger happy”.

But Ms Pike denied that the Government had done a back flip on the matter.

“My intervention helped to clarify the details and draw the Minister’s attention to it,” she said.

Ms Pike officially opened the 5000 square metre park in 2005.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it was a site that a building would go on,” she said.

She said the Government would be “favourable disposed” to expressions of interests from developers which offered to improve the park.

The RoI process has been finalised and the Government is now conducting a formal expression of interest (EoI) process.  While not willing to ascribe any timelines on the process, it promises consultation when its preferred option enters the formal planning stage.

Flinders Wharf Owners Corporation representative Bob Welch said residents were prepared to accept Ms Pike’s assurances.

“Our main concern now is what will be built on the old wharf site,” Mr Welch said.  

“We have reservations about the lack of consultation during the expression of interest period and the fact that we will only know what is proposed after decisions have been made,” he said.

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Comments

  • Tom McNair at 6:44pm on 06/07/10

    This is a great outcome for residents of Docklands. I thank Docklands News for the coverage of this issue. It made quite an impact on Minister Pike at the Residents meeting organised by her office! She too deserved credit for her swift response, and for making herself accessible to residents in her electorate.

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