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State to take back Seafarers Park

30 Apr 2010

State to take back Seafarers Park Image

The State Government has outraged Docklands residents for offering to developers land it launched as a public park less than five years ago.

The Seafarers Rest Park between the river and the Mission to Seafarers has been offered to developers as part of a registration of interest to develop the precinct.

Local MP Bronwyn Pike said when launching the park in December 2005: “Seafarers Rest is a fantastic asset for the Docklands and Melbourne and will add to the sense of community flourishing in this recently established residential area.”

She declined to tell Docklands News how she felt about the park being rezoned to allow development.

Flinders Wharf residents say they have been let down by the developer and the Government.   Their 2001 section 32 vendor statements state that the land on which the park stands had been modified by “transfer to the Queen”.  And their purchase contracts refer to the land as a park.  

Victorian Government Property Group maps from 1996 show the park as “public open space”.  However, current Surveyor General maps refer to the land as “crown land temporarily reserved for public purposes”.

A Department of Treasury and Finance spokesperson said the land was "temporarily reserved" for public purposes in 1997.

The Government supports rezoning the land from “public park and recreation” to “capital city zone 1” to allow development.

“I’m angered because it represents a breach of contract between the developer, Flinders Wharf Land, and the purchasers,” resident Tom McNair said.  

“There was misrepresentation of what we understood we were buying which was an apartment adjacent to public open space and designated park land.”

“It appears that the Government is being dishonest by allowing the rezoning of public open space for the purposes of commercial development in order to achieve some of its other objectives,” Mr McNair said.

“It seems to be both greedy and short sighted, because surveys in the Docklands area  have shown the lack of public open space is one of residents’ greatest concerns.”

“We’ve got a number of young children living in this building and this is the only open space they’ve got to play in without crossing a very busy road.”

Flinders Wharf Land consortium member Craig Williams said he was not interested in discussing the matter.

City of Melbourne planning chair Cr Peter Clarke said the process was being driven by Treasury and Finance without regard to planning considerations.

He said the council supported the retention of the park, but was merely an observer without any input into the process.

“Clearly Docklands needs more green space,” he said.

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Tim Holding said the Minister was unable to comment until he signed off a "progress brief".  However, she maintained that the proposal  would require the respondents to deliver a new public open space.

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  • Janine Standfield at 6:19pm on 05/05/10

    I am a resident with a young child who also uses this park. We live at Village Docklands. I have already contacted Melbourne City Council about this matter and received a reply that they are waiting to see what the Expressions of Interest Campaign uncovers before proceeding with any action.Is there anything else we can do at this stage to oppose inappropriate development?
  • Adelaide Hills at 5:11pm on 12/05/10

    Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. I live in Moreland where the state and federal governments have colluded to allow numerous high rise developments to occur with no community consultation. If you speak to a government department or minister they simply mention VC56.

    However, there is one thing you can do. Use your vote. The seat of Melbourne is marginal.
  • Jennifer at 5:49pm on 31/05/10

    This story had the headline 'Indian Givers' in the printed version. I'm glad that you've changed it on the site, but the printed (perhaps original?) title is incredibly offensive, particularly as there is a sizable population of ethnic minorities that reside in the Docklands, including Indians. This is particularly upsetting in light of the recent racially-motivated attacks against Indians.
  • Steve at 1:56pm on 04/06/10

    "Indian givers" is a term used for native americans, not indians (as in people from india). It is still undoubtably offensive, im just saying...
  • Jennifer at 5:01pm on 04/06/10

    I *am* aware, but Australia has a low population of Native Americans. I'd say the meaning of the term is now offensive to both ethnicities, as Australians generally don't use any other term than 'Indians' to denote... well, those of Indian ethnicity. It might differ in the US where there is a significant population of Native Americans who are ignorantly referred to as Indians, but not here.

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