Residents respond to consultation

By Chan Khai Ling

The Second Decade of Docklands draft initiatives were presented to local residents at the Hub last month by VicUrban and City of Melbourne representatives.

Some 20 Docklands residents were present for the 30-minute meeting, which was jointly led by VicUrban’s acting director of project planning and innovation, Simon Wilson, and City of Melbourne’s director city design, Professor Rob Adams.

The proposed initiatives encompassed three central themes – capturing the essence of Melbourne, embracing Melbourne’s waterfront and creating a 21st century city.

Following the presentation, a question-and-answer session was held in which some residents raised concerns about the lack of green space in Docklands, problems with public transportation and the absence
of schools.

Another point of contention was the state of the Yarra River, which retiree Phil Spender claimed was a “disgrace” as debris was continuously trapped in the marina.

“There’s no point in developing the water park concept (for Docklands),” he said in reference to the river’s condition.

Prof Adams said there were budget allocations to cover the clean-up and to fund a new design less likely to trap rubbish.

The lack of green space was the major concern for most attendees and received the lion’s share of the orange “dots” that were used to visually rank priorities among proposed actions.

Citing the numerous parks in the central business district, Mr Spender said of Docklands: “There’s just not enough green.”

“This is the biggest development in Melbourne in over 100 years, and we’re not re-creating some of the greatest things that they have done (in Melbourne).”

Also high on the list for resident Janine Standfield was the implementation of a primary school within or near Docklands.

“It almost seems like they don’t want people with children here. There’re no schools here, and there’s one children’s park for the whole of Docklands,” she said.

Overall, however, residents were pleased with the presentation.

“At a high level, it’s a great plan. They just have to listen to the people, make a few changes to improve things and make sure they don’t repeat past mistakes,” Mr Spender said.

VicUrban says feedback during consultation from all groups reinforced the importance of providing more community services and facilities and more intimate and comfortable public spaces and amenities.

“This feedback has been invaluable to both VicUrban and the City of Melbourne in refining the actions, outcomes and key projects that are to be delivered over the short and longer term,” a spokesperson said.