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In support of low-rise
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Letters to the editor

14 Aug 2012

The Planning Minister’s Legoland?

Minister Matthew Guy’s latest “Lego” foray into Southbank is the approval of a 71 storey tower called The Falls on 25 Queensbridge Street.

It will be the fourth tallest building in Melbourne, three of which will be on the same block in Southbank.

The Falls will be just 10 metres away from its neighbouring tower, the 67 storey Prima Pearl, which is under construction and 20 metres away from the Queensbridge Tower which will also have 71 storeys. It will be in hand-stretching distance from Freshwater Place as well. Within the 140 metre stretch of Queensbridge Street from the bridge to the Power Street junction, the Minister has hereby gifted Southbank with three huge high rises, towering over 200 metres and bringing the total population of one block to between 4000 to 5000 residents. This also implies a creditable addition of between 1500 and 2000 extra cars on the road in Southbank. Lucky Southbank!

The Minister is having the time of his life. Lego building is his hobby, Southbank is his favoured territory, developers are his bosom buddies. The clarion calls are – “Reach for the sky!” “Mine’s bigger than yours!” “Can we fit one more in there?” “Surely we can if we move it just a bit closer!”  

A figure of envy – is our beloved Minister. Who else has absolute carte blanche on every lego decision of over 25,000 sq metres? Not a person or authority to answer to. The vision for Southbank (in fact for the whole of the expanded CBD) is “bigger”, “taller”, “more” of concrete, and as quick as they can be built. As for schools, parks, retail centres, traffic management and other supporting infrastructure – all of those other bothersome issues? Well, they can wait another day. They do certainly and quite appropriately need further study, and analysis, and consideration, and consultation, and…!

The fly in the ointment, though, is pesky, cantankerous residents who frivolously complain about loss of access to direct sunlight, loss of privacy, traffic clogged roads, wind tunnels, darkened streets and the like. If they only shut up we’d all be able to celebrate the Minister’s growing list of playful Lego achievements.  

If they want sunlight, let them go and sit by the river. If they want privacy, why the heck don’t they pull down their blinds? As for wind tunnels – they’re great. They keep the streets clean.

Come to think of it - do we actually need residents? Yes perhaps we do – someone has to pay the stamp duty and rates. But we certainly don’t need this particular grouchy lot. Let’s get rid of them before the next election, before they get rid of us!

Peter Renner, Chair – Freshwater Place Owners’ Corporation

 

About words

Your choice of words can tell the story.

I enjoyed the informative front-page article in Issue 10, comparing Southbank’s census results with the average in Australia. Some truly interesting nuggets.

I thought the page 3 “Packed to the rafters” article was poor. By using the phrase “congestion rate” instead of “population density”, it is clear that the writer has a position against having more people in Southbank.

“Congestion rate” is an invented term for which a widely understood and neutral phrase already exists - that of “urban density” or “population density”.

I would call this article an editorial, which should not be in the news section.

Best wishes
Joan

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