Mind your language


Mind your language

Whilst I want the Docklands News to be frank, honest, open and critical, I also expect it to be fiercely supportive of Docklands.

Given the propensity for others to criticise Docklands I’d prefer not to read, on the cover of the suburb’s own paper, parts of Docklands described as “a festering sore”.  Feeding that sort of description to the broader public is like giving more beer to rowdy football supporters ... it’s never going to bring out the best in them.

Whatever the reasons for its current state, Docklands was founded on a well-considered vision and many of its current shortcomings result from failure to realise that vision. By extending Docklands Park into a central open space corridor, Harbour Esplanade was to be the core of activity in Melbourne’s new, vibrant waterside suburb.  Instead, it’s a billboard for tardy development and unfulfilled promises.

Those responsible should be identified and called to account.  Readers and stakeholders alike should be reminded that incomplete ventures like Hortus stand as evidence of further failure and attract more criticism.  

The tired old wharves might not enhance the new Docklands and the failure to address that reflects poor planning and rubbery accountability from the various agencies ... and it frustrates everybody.  But they’re also the ghosts of a busy waterfront and a reflection of a history which is one chamber in the beating heart of Docklands.   

So, please do tell stories like that on the cover of DN 94, but can the paper that champions Docklands tell such stories using language that is critical of the inaction, and of those who fail Docklands, rather than of the tired beauty of the suburb itself.  

Peter Crowley


Docklands waterfront

I have been involved with Docklands since the beginning and have watched it develop.

I have invested here and have operated my business here for over five years and continually support the precinct against its many knockers, but what is happening with piers on Harbour Esplanade can never be justified.

One of the original promises of Docklands was to “open the water to the people”. Developers were forced to create significant setbacks to make the water a public amenity and, to complete the job, the authorities with the public land needed to make the same commitment.

Stage 1 of the changes to Harbour Esplanade with the rerouting of the tram and the planting of new trees was useless without the second stage of the pocket parks and greenery to the water which we were promised. We put up with the inconvenience of the Stage 1 works because we were promised the end result would be worthwhile and finally Docklands would address the water.

Stage 2 was buried and did not happen.

We have put up with bureaucratic “buck passing” for the last few years and now we see the piers being demolished with no plan as to what will replace them. We are told that the piers will be demolished and then we will consult to develop a solution. What a joke!  

Docklands is a major business and tourism area for Melbourne and Victoria and the water is one of its major assets. To demolish the piers without any plan to replace them is absolute madness.

How long will it look like a bomb has gone off? It is a complete embarrassment and must be fixed as a matter of priority.

Paul Lachal


A convert’s tale

When I first started working at Docklands I had all the usual biases against it – as a concept rather than as an experience because, although I could express lots of opinions about what was wrong with Docklands, I had not actually spent a lot of time here.

You could say I had a philosophical objection to a suburb just being created, out of nothing, by a whole bunch of developers, in cahoots with the council.

But over the past year, having walked the Docklands paths a fair bit, been to a lot of restaurants, and drunk a lot (and I do mean a lot) of coffee, I have changed my mind. I’ve come to appreciate some really exquisite things about Docklands that make it completely, utterly unique in Melbourne. Here’s a few:

Walking along the Victoria harbour promenade and seeing jellyfish – amorphous, radiating light – hanging suspended in the water. So peaceful, so alien at the same time.

The huge collection of snapper and sea bream I saw swimming around the pier pylons at the end of NewQuay. It was like being at the aquarium only better because it was totally unexpected and lovely.

The Jazz – sometimes Miles Davis – that Docklands Espresso plays of a morning. Makes you feel light as a feather and inspired as you hit the office.

The smell of the sea at the water’s edge. Salty, briny, wonderful. And finally, being close to the water, that changes so much from day to day. From still and glossy, reflections shifting, to angry, choppy and grey. Wonderful link to nature in the middle of the city. There are more, lots more. Perhaps for others to tell?

Maria Doogan

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