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Study to look at who owns our waterways

30 Jun 2010

The debate between developer and public interest continues – this time over Docklands’40 hectare ‘Blue Park’ as its waterways are sometimes called.

A proposed Docklands Shoreline Development plan shows more and more marina proposals eating into those 40 precious hectares.

MAB Corporation is proposing to take a further 2 ha for its western marina, Lend Lease wants 2.6 ha for a new Victoria Harbour Marina and Mirvac plans to extend residential marinas on the south shoreline.

In a bid to understand the implications of this and to understand better the limitations of the waterway, the various government stakeholders have employed a waterways expert to advise them.

The Docklands Waterways Working Group has commissioned Bob Itami of GeoDimensions who has been working in waterways traffic management since 2005 and was responsible for a waterways traffic management plan at Williamstown.

The working group comprises Parks Victoria, VicUrban, and the City of Melbourne.

Mr Itami started the project in January and hopes to present a draft report to Parks Victoria by July.

He said the developers’ position was well understood and he wanted to speak to as many public stakeholders as possible.  He has spoken to the various Docklands’ water-based sporting clubs, Tall Ships Victoria and individual charter boat operators.

“The focus of my study is to get an even-handed view of the competing interests,” he said.

“You’re always going to get a lot of interest in a process which converts a public asset to private use.”

The vice-president of the Charter Vessel Owners Association of Victoria, Keith Rankin, said the association welcomed the study.

“We have been fortunate to introduce Mr Itami to some of the most experienced mariners on the river and to have been given the opportunity to provide him with the submissions we have made to four previous waterways studies.”

“We can only trust that Mr Itami will treat this information with the seriousness with which it was prepared.”

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