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Editions

We’ve waited three years ... for this?

31 Jul 2012

We’ve waited three years ... for this? Image

Editorial comment: By Shane Scanlan

Despite having taken nearly three years to deliver it, the Docklands Community and Place Plan is still not the document we have been waiting for.

What Docklands has been waiting for is a plan that outlines exactly what community infrastructure we will get and when we will get it.

Instead, we have been issued another “airy-fairy” series of platitudes that perpetuates the myth that the community has been consulted in the process.

There are some items in the plan, which have genuinely come from the community. But the pet ideas that officers of the City of Melbourne had before the “consultation” started in December 2009 still loom large in the recommendations.

Docklands never asked for a library.  It’s nice to have one, and thanks for giving us one.  But don’t say we ever asked for it.  What we have always wanted is a primary school.

Similarly deceitful is the notion that the community inspired the idea that heritage sheds be brought back to Harbour Esplanade and be used for farmers’ or seafood markets.  Again, it’s an idea worth considering, but not at the expense of losing water views.

And the council’s fixation with blocking the entrance to Victoria Harbour returns – this time without being obviously marked on a map and softened in language to now be: “Partner to deliver pedestrian connections over Victoria Harbour and the Yarra River to better connect the precincts.”

If the council was serious about “embracing Melbourne’s waterfront” it would not even consider putting bridges in the way of maritime traffic into Docklands.

Out of 73 so-called “community priorities”, only 20 begin with the word “deliver”.  These are the things that the council and Places Victoria are committing to – and many of them have already been “delivered” and others are entirely specious and insignificant.

The other items are matters for “facilitation” or “partnering”, which is largely code for encouraging other parties (read developers) to actually provide.

Curiously, one of the things to be “delivered” is better water quality so people can swim in Victoria Harbour.  Just how the council and Places Victoria plan to achieve this is mind-boggling.  Perhaps they want to dam the harbour entrance and install a giant swimming pool filter?

The Docklands Community and Place Plan is breathtakingly thin and bereft of detail.  Accompanying press statements talk about $300 million worth of community infrastructure projects but this is not backed up with an actual plan and timetable.

Docklands has lost three years of precious community infrastructure development time because the authorities wanted to indulge themselves with a sham consultation.

Public trust has been betrayed and we are no closer to knowing if and when we will be getting the projects that will bring this precinct to life.

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Comments

  • Rose M at 4:30pm on 02/08/12

    Well said Shane - tks for speaking for all of us who love living in Docklands.

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