Getting through COVID-19
By Keith Sutherland - Yarra's Edge
Since my last article the whole world has changed dramatically with COVID-19 pandemic and I doubt that the Docklands precinct will ever be the same.
On the positive note, public transport has never been more attractive with numbers drastically reduced due to many employees working from home, which is most likely to stay. But on the negative side, it has been devastating for existing businesses who rely on employees and none more than the hospitality and leisure industries. Let’s hope the council and state government provide some assistance to support and promote struggling businesses so as to attract people back to the many attributes the area has to offer.
Like many residents we have tried to support those businesses that have remained open and hopefully now that some restrictions have been removed it’s even more important to support them, as I fear once JobKeeper is gone, many will not reopen or they will cease to operate.
The National Cabinet has worked very well which is a first for decades due to the nature of party politics. I have said to many people during the time of the lockdown that there was nowhere else I would rather be than in Victoria as I believe Premier Daniel Andrews has done his best to keep Victorians safe and we have an amazing health system, which my wife and I have experienced first-hand during this difficult time.
It has been reassuring to see those yellow high-vis vests around our areas cleaning down objects and congratulations to City of Melbourne for employing many people during this time of high job losses. Also, the council putting a hold on rate increases is a very good initiative even in light of its first budget loss due to effects of COVID-19.
Out of all these hardships many businesses have adapted well to the changed conditions and have found innovative ways of doing things which is just so important as we head into the future.
I only hope that there is no second wave of the coronavirus as I doubt that people will observe another period of lockdown and it would be devastating for people’s mental health.
I know that I really missed socialising with family and friends, live sport and music and the big overseas holiday we had planned for April and May but so glad we didn’t go.
I’m glad to see that RekDek pool has now reopened on a limited time basis which has not pleased everyone but the committee has taken all factors into account in making their decision. Gym opened on June 22 but with hygiene and social distancing being of the highest priority and restricted to 20 members at a time.
Also, the Community Centre will be available to residents once the cleaners have ceased to use the premises and we thank the council and Cr Kevin Louey for their cooperation. Better late than never.
Another concern for residents has been the ongoing problems with hoon drivers in the area and now speed humps have been installed in Point Park Crescent along with security cameras which hopefully will alleviate some of the problems. It was pleasing to have Deputy Lord Mayor Aaron Wood attend a meeting of Yarra’s Edge residents on June 19 to hear concerns first hand but it didn’t stop the cars from coming back over the weekend.
Also, I have continued to lobby Premier Andrews and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allen and other politicians to look at sensible alternatives to the expensive and destructive tram bridge proposal, which we believe should be seriously considered in light their budget problems. Now is the time for job creation and infrastructure projects which should be built at a time of low interest rates as we need the economy to get back on its feet again.
As always if anyone has any ideas or thoughts for my next column please don’t hesitate to contact me: [email protected] •