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What Women Want - With Abby Crawford

Reflecting on what’s important
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Light show dream is alive

03 Apr 2019

Light show dream is alive Image

By Shane Scanlan

The dream of a permanent fountains and light show in Victoria Harbour is still alive, with the Docklands Chamber of Commerce (DCC) engaging a specialist firm to prepare a business case.

This follows disappointment last August, when it failed to attract a suitably-qualified consultancy to do the job.

“It was shattering,” said chamber president Johanna Maxwell, of the failed expression of interest (EoI) process.

“Last year when we did the EoI, we had over 340 people look at it with that resulting in only one submission – and that submission didn’t meet our requirements,” Mrs Maxwell said.

But recently, a chamber member introduced the DCC to LaserVision, a Sydney-based business with a global record of success in the space.

“We got in touch immediately,” Mrs Maxwell said. “Our executive officer Shane was in Hong Kong and met with their development manager, had a discussion and within 24 hours, we had an EoI from them.”

LaserVision was due in Melbourne on another matter on March 28 and asked to meet the chamber a day earlier.

“We spent from midday until 8.30pm working through the details of the business case,” Mrs Maxwell said.

“When I left them, they were heading off to do light measurements so they could see how dark Docklands was at night.”

“They’ll be presenting figures showing return on investment, increased traffic and increased benefits from activations like this.”

She said Victoria Harbour was the jewel in Melbourne’s crown but Docklands needed a “hero” installation to bring it to life.

“It could become Docklands’, Melbourne’s or Victoria’s iconic ‘must see/do’ thing. And it might actually complement things like the Great Ocean Road and the penguins,” Mrs Maxwell said.

“It could increase tourists’ stay in Melbourne. It could drive people here in its own right.

And the best thing for Docklands could be that, because we have such beautiful waterways, that we can actually fill all the cafes and restaurants around it – day and night.”

She said that, while the chamber was open to suggested technologies, it was attracted to light shows and fountains, with images projected onto water screens.

“We want something unique that becomes Docklands’ hero statement,” she said.

“Conceptually, we’re looking at building on the maritime heritage of Docklands and the significance of the water. It could be themed to tie in with Marvel Stadium or footy events or Chinese New Year, etc. The concepts are very broad but it’s about delivering entertainment with a wow factor.”

Mrs Maxwell said the completed business case would be taken to potential private and government sponsors. She said an entry-level attraction would be possible for less than $10 million.

“We’ll be talking to a number of stakeholders across the private sector, state and local government – maybe even federal government,” she said. “We’ll be seeking funding for the establishment and we’ll also be seeking ways to deliver a return on the investment and to cover the maintenance and running costs.”

She said, if funding could be found, the opportunity to produce and run the attraction would be put to competitive tender, with LaserVision being a potential bidder.

“The figures will have to speak for themselves. We’re hoping to establish things like extended stays, extra nights in accommodation, and the like,” she said.

Mrs Maxwell predicted that residents would be happy with the attraction.

“I think the residents will be very happy. While there is sound involved, sound can be generated so that it travels across the water but doesn’t go above, so it won’t impact people living in the towers,” she said.

“But it also all be done through Bluetooth. It’s even possible that the restaurants can play the soundtrack on their internal systems. The viewers may not even have to go outside.”

So why would it be different from a failed 2016 attempt to champion a $13 million “fountains and flames” show, led by a private company, FCT Flames?

“It’s a different time. The council and state government have new people and new structures,” she said. “We learned a lot from that earlier process. We know what doesn’t work.”

 

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