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August 09 Edition Cover

VicUrban’s D2 – The big lie

30 Nov 2010

Editorial Comment - Shane Scanlan

I am looking at VicUrban’s Docklands Second Decade website and I am getting angry.

Why do these people have to make it up?  What’s wrong with being genuine?

It’s October 29, the day after they have released a so-called “shared vision” document, and I am regretting that I have to wait a month for the December edition of the paper to express my views.

I suspect that the state election is a factor.  They’ve probably been leaned on.  And aimed at people (read non-local media) who don’t really know what is happening down here, it’s relatively easy to generate a cheap headline.

VicUrban (with its partner in crime, the City of Melbourne) has gone to a lot of trouble consulting about the “second decade”.  In fact, they claim to have spoken to nearly 4000 people and, for the sake of the argument, let’s say they did (although the facts surrounding this have been previously reported in Docklands News).

So why didn’t VicUrban listen to the 4000?  And why are they lying when they claim that the five BIG ideas they have ended up with were generated via this process?

The ideas are Central Pier; Harbour Esplanade; harbour link; the library; and western park.   Let’s look at them …

Central Pier:  They had to do something.  The current suggestions are a convenient excuse to tell Hatem Saleh’s Atlantic Group that it can no longer charge for car parking on Crown Land;

Harbour Esplanade: They can’t seriously claim this re-development as a new idea. It’s been years in the planning;

Harbour Link: This idea was first publicly aired when Lend Lease revealed its draft master plan for Victoria Harbour on July 15 and has obviously been talked about for some time “inside the tent” before that.  It was actually shown by former VicUrban general manager David Young during his Powerpoint introduction to the so-called D2 “consultations”.  Docklands News asked VicUrban for a copy of its presentation at the time but, when it was sent through, the reference to the bridge and western park were not included.  VicUrban explained:  “This does not include the slides on the ideas as these have no status and were purely used for workshop discussion.”

How curious that both these “ideas” have now been attributed to the “consulted” public. On the second decade website ( they even include an alleged quotation from one of the 4000 consulted citizens: “I’d like a pedestrian bridge that connects Docklands, creating one big loop around the harbour.”

The library:  Can they be serious?  This was announced and budgeted long before this “consultation” was started; and

Western park:  This is similar to the above harbour link “idea” in that it came from within – not the public.  It also has been talked about by the insiders for years.  In fact, last October the Lord Mayor suggested that this facility become a training ground for the Melbourne Football Club. And what do you know?  Melbourne has now expressed its interests on the back of the “consultation”.  To suggest that a member of the public came up with the concept during the consultation is simply a lie.

In a cynical insult, the D2 website has a heading “Get involved” under the five “ideas” and has links to: Register your interest; Have your say online; and Consultation events.

The prevailing theme on these new “ideas” is that each has three options.  It’s the options, not the ideas themselves, that VicUrban now wants to discuss. How convenient.  You are going to die … would you like to be: Electrocuted; Shot; or Hanged?

Would you like your western park: Ecological; Recreational; or Sporty?

Would you like your harbour link: Structural; Floating; or Pivoting?

The fact that VicUrban feels the need to deceive the public is alarming. But it suggests an organisation which has lost its way – which is bereft of a reason for being.

Watch out for other VicUrban ideas coming soon, masked in the sweet-smelling aroma of a D2 consultation.  For instance, VicUrban is currently looking at introducing retail into phase two of its Harbour Esplanade redevelopment.  If we end up not being able to see the water because of a row of shops, don’t be surprised if the justification is “D2”.

The whole idea of a “consultation” is noble.  After all, we are perhaps the only community in Victoria which is legislatively disenfranchised.  We have no say and that’s the way it is.

Docklanders are weary from years of being asked what they want.  They are tired of answering that they want the same community facilities that other communities have.  

They want a place to meet, they want a tennis court, they want parks, they want places to shelter from the wind. An oval would be great, and how about a school?  

The problem with Docklands is that we have four levels of government.  We have the usual federal, state and local spheres.  But we also have VicUrban which is not publicly accountable, which is motivated by generating money for the state and which is holding this community back.

Their work is done here.  They should go away – move on – and allow us to get on with things instead of pretending that they still have a role and a purpose.

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  • NIL at 5:43pm on 01/12/10

    VicUrban is a mess. Talented staff are leaving in their droves or are being a forced to leave if they don't tow the line of the ignorant and arrogant few.
    It is the Labor Government's worst disaster yet it still remains uninvestigated and unaccountable. Here's hoping Bailleau's reform audit will finally put some decent people into what could be a worthwhile organisation.
  • Nick at 11:30am on 02/12/10

    Well said Shane, agree 100%.
  • Michele at 5:12pm on 08/12/10

    Great article . Library,MCC planned previous council.Library should be in the school current positioning VERY poor planning .Water crossing stupid, provide water taxi's .Public Toilets,Art works on buildings owners pay maintenace nothing is free.Roads too narrow, Harbour Esaplande single lane disasterous.Dont listen as we are not important they turn of the lights go home to the suburbs.

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