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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Sky sign approval for Docklands ice rink

30 Sep 2015

City of Melbourne councillors voted against their own planning officers’ recommendations last month and approved three sky signs at the Docklands ice rink.  

Councillors voted 6 to 3 to approve the signs, which will be affixed to the top of the ice sports facility despite council officers recommending the signs be attached to the facade of the building.

The facility, which until last month was known as the Medibank Icehouse, was renamed O’Brien Group Arena after the hospitality and leisure company signed a 25 year lease for the site.

Speaking at the September 8 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, Michael O’Brien said the company aimed to ensure the arena became a recognised venue within Melbourne.

He said the O’Brien Group was seeking sky signage because it was competing in an environment where it needed to be easily identified.

“We want the place identified, recognised and its location marked. We aim to most effectively display both our corporate identity and the location of what is an internationally and nationally important ice sports stadium venue in the city,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We do exist down there in a commercially competitive environment in the back corner of Docklands that is at times very hard to find,” Mr O’Brien said.

Sky signs are discouraged under the council’s policy for advertising signs, however a number of councillors spoke in support of allowing the signs in this case due to the difficult conditions in Docklands.

Speaking in support of the proposal, Cr Stephen Mayne said it was a proposal, which required councillors to weigh up a strict interpretation of the rules, with broader goals of supporting and activating business.

“I think the proposal coming forward here is from a competent operator looking to invest to stimulate and invigorate a part of Docklands that needs some love,” Cr Mayne said.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said that, in this individual case, the approval of sky signs would result in a better outcome.

“In the end we need to give the operators the room to succeed,” Cr Doyle said.

“We don’t want to set up new operators to fail in what Cr Mayne has described quite properly as one of the most difficult corners of Docklands to activate.”

However, Cr Rohan Leppert questioned whether putting a sign above the top of the roof or just below the top of the roof was a deal breaker as far as attracting businesses and expressed concern about setting a precedent.

“I do agree that it is a difficult area out there in Docklands and we do need to make sure we’re not adversely impacting on businesses trying to activate that area,” Cr Leppert said. “I don’t think by disallowing the sky sign we are doing that.”

The approved sky signs will be located on the east side of the building, fronting Pearl River Rd, the north side of the building to Footscray Rd and the west side of the building to CityLink.

All three signs would be less than two metres high above the roof of the building.

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