Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

Melbourne Bike Share becomes Docklands Bike Share
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Chamber update Image

Chamber update

Coming out of COVID-19
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

Moving across the world for Docklands
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

滨海港区 预算菲薄
Read more >>

Critic

A killer in Docklands
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Performance-based alternative solutions the key to cheaper cladding replacement costs
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Warming up before exercise – why you really need to
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

What I hate about Docklands
Read more >>

History

(A sailor’s) Home is where the Hearth is
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

Anchor up at Yarra’s Edge’s newest cafe
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Keeping the lights on during COVID-19
Read more >>

Maritime

Two steps forward and one step back
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Ty the adorable rescue
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

Coming out of COVID-19 with a silver lining
Read more >>

Precinct Perspectives

Getting through COVID-19
Read more >>

State MP

After COVID-19: do we want to go back to “normal”?
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

How fast is fast fashion?
Read more >>

The District

Eat your way through our most delicious hot spots
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Short-stays in the aftermath of COVID-19
Read more >>

Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

The signs are ominous

11 Feb 2014

Comment by Shane Scanlan

There are many symbols demonstrating the parlous state of Harbour Esplanade and the sad fact that it won’t be fixed any time soon.

Hortus, the glasshouse that is now covered by a tent, tells a story of impracticality, delay and unfulfilled promise.  

Next to it, the up-again-down-again solid hoardings around the wharf areas to be demolished adjacent to Central Pier are an even greater symbol of dysfunction.

The fence was erected twice – once to the edge of Places Victoria’s jurisdiction and six months later onto the area controlled by the City of Melbourne.

But perhaps the greatest symbol demonstrating the difficulties we face is a press conference held on Harbour Esplanade last December by Planning Minister Matthew Guy and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle.

It is well known that politicians like to pump themselves up.  And they are pretty good at presenting an almost-empty glass as brimming over.

But to claim that the demolition of the condemned sections of wharf was the beginning of something wonderful was breathtaking in its audacity.

The wharves were a public danger and had already been fenced off to prevent anyone falling through them.  The demolition should have been done years ago.

The Minister and Lord Mayor should have been embarrassed that the wharf areas had been allowed to deteriorate to this point.

But, without announcing any funding beyond the demolition, the pair claimed the moment was the “start of the rejuvenation of Harbour Esplanade.”

In reality, it has been more than five years since the re-development of Harbour Esplanade was announced with fanfare.  

Since then, the authorities have only managed to move the tram tracks (the fences were not the only aspect of Harbour Esplanade to be done twice!).

The Guy/Doyle press conference was an ominous symbol.  If this was the best news they could muster, how bad must the state’s commitment to infrastructure be?

Any thoughts about a grand plan for Harbour Esplanade must be tempered against this background of economic austerity.

And, again, Docklands finds itself over-governed to the point of paralysis.  You have to wonder how far advanced Docklands would have been without “power-sharing” between Places Victoria and the City of Melbourne that started in 2007 and continues today.

If Harbour Esplanade had been the sole responsibility of either party, would we be in the same state of inactivity today?

We understand that Places Victoria and the council have been talking among themselves for years about the future of Harbour Esplanade.

The community has been expecting a round of consultations on a visionary master plan.  

We believe that another master plan was actually prepared during 2012 but that 2013 was spent scaling back ambition and lowering expectation.

Consultation has been promised in coming months.

The community should prepare itself to be underwhelmed.

Share on Facebook

Stay in touch with Docklands. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Docklands News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.