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Precinct support to provide a busy summer for Docklands

Jack Hayes

The return of the hugely successful Docklands Dollars program and a Summer at The Docks market series headline a big summer ahead for the Docklands Chamber of Commerce (DCC).

The recommencement of the Chamber’s flagship Docklands Dollars program is estimated to stimulate $3-5 million in local spending, and with support from Development Victoria, the program is looking likely to be here to stay.

DCC executive officer, Shane Wylie, told Docklands News the program, along with a jam-packed summer schedule, would come as welcome relief for a precinct devasted like no other in the country.

“In the coming months Docklands is going to come to life with a great raft of activations,” Mr Wylie said.

“We’ll be leading it off with Summer at The Docks supporting a maze activation from the City of Melbourne and amplified summer markets at The District Docklands.”

“We’re planning to activate NewQuay Promenade over consecutive weekends in December in the lead up to the Christmas Markets at The District Docklands.”

“Along with amplifying the summer markets, the latest round of Docklands Dollars registration is now open. If the first few allocations of Docklands Dollars is anything to go by, they will snapped up in no time.”

The Summer at the Docks market series will run over three consecutive weekends on December 4 and 5, then the following weekend December 11 and 12, culminating on December 17 with the District Docklands’ Christmas night market.

During a “Bounce Back Briefing” hosted by the City of Melbourne on October 21, Docklands resident Cr Jamal Hakim expressed his excitement for the many activations planned for the precinct, including the “Docklands Christmas Maze”.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council’s extended six-week Christmas Festival would deliver more free and family-friendly entertainment than ever before.

The DCC plans to continue the activation through January and February finishing off summer with the World Press Photo awards hosted at Magnet Galleries and the Docklands Gift again being run on Ron Barassi Senior Park in late February.

According to DCC president Joh Maxwell, one of the few silver linings to come out of successive lookdowns had been unprecedented level of collaboration between businesses and stakeholders throughout Docklands.

“The City of Melbourne and Development Victoria are right behind Docklands’ re-emergence and we’re so thankful for their support,” Ms Maxwell said.

 

The other positive out of this lockdown is that it has clearly shown that the Chamber’s priority of a permanent world-class activation of Victoria Harbour is exactly what is needed. We aren’t going to stop pushing that agenda.

 

Docklands is also set to become a key beneficiary from the City of Melbourne’s $1.85 million grants program to activate precincts and bring business events back to the city.

To be funded through the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund, a collaboration between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government, the grants will provide funding of up to $50,000 for initiatives that drive visitation to areas of the city severely impacted by COVID-19.  

Mr Wylie said the City of Melbourne had urged the DCC to assist businesses and their applications, ensuring they aligned with the chamber’s and the council’s existing activation strategies.

Businesses who have already consulted the DCC in their application process include Magnet Gallery, Docklands Gift, ATET and consortium buskers and street performers.

Applicants will need to demonstrate their commitment to deliver COVID-safe events to entice professionals back to Docklands. 

According to Lord Mayor Sally Capp, the program would support bold ideas from businesses, interest groups and local enthusiasts to activate city neighbourhoods.

“Business events are another critical part of our economy. Prior to the pandemic, around 14 million entrepreneurs, executives and future leaders descended on Melbourne each year, so I encourage all business event organisers to apply for a grant,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We want to drive more visitors and economic activity in the city through these grant programs.” •

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