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Montague Community Alliance

09 Feb 2017

Focus locally and respectfully

Happy New Year and welcome to the year of the fire rooster.

What is the saying – “I hope you live in interesting times”, well 2017 is certainly firming up to be one of those interesting times.

In my holiday reveries, I was contemplating the utopian ideal of how we could bring the urban renewal areas residential and business communities, developers and governments closer together in purpose and mission.

These thoughts came out of my work in the field of business psychology, which is to create opportunities for common growth and cohesiveness in large global corporations. So ... I am curious how could those principles be applied to Montague Precinct.

I can hear you all guffaw with cynicism but wait, why can’t we all have agreed and negotiated objectives, why do commercial imperatives exclude good community amenity and why can’t existing and future residents support developers and developers support the quality of life of the existing communities?

Has anyone ever asked? Is it that we are so narrow in our own world view that we do not notice the “other”? Or is it that it is deemed too hard to engage with communities of residents and small businesses because the belief is that they are NIMBYs or will inevitably be oppositional.

Hmmm … for the most part here in Montague we are very supportive of development. Why? Because it is happening and needed, we get that. But are the developers and government planners and strategists supportive of us?

I’m not so sure. We get no communication at all and any consultation is transactional rather than about building a long-term vision of cohesion in the area that includes the existing communities within Montague.

I wonder if we could start a dialogue with all the stakeholders about a voluntary agreement that would support the developers, residents, businesses and provide valuable feedback to the governing bodies that are writing the planning amendments and legal frameworks.

The challenges that were presented by the issues with Surveyors Place could easily have been diminished if we were thinking clearly about each other with respect and transparency. And now of course, the creation of Montague Park has been put on hold due to financial restrictions.

So, dear readers, whilst we are diverted by the shenanigans of the global players, let’s all learn the lessons of diplomacy and courtesy, focus locally and respectfully and communicate with others so that we might come to more creative agreements that will embed and sustain behaviours that provide a quality of life and amenity for all.

Trisha Avery

Convener - Montague Community Alliance

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