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In support of low-rise

Southbank Residents Group

14 May 2015

What a week last week was! Literally the day I return from Gallipoli (which I must add was an awesome experience) I get hit with three significant agenda items for the Future Melbourne Committee meeting the following night, while needing to keep my focus on the inaugural Southbank Owners’  Corporation meeting, which was the night I arrived back.

But, like a good soldier, I pushed forward and we got there, although the electricity outage certainly didn’t help me and couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. So yes, there is a lot to discuss this month.

Let me start by once again saying how appalled I am with some councillors. A significant Southbank development proposal was submitted for council’s consideration but once again too many councillors had conflicted themselves (having received donations from the developer) and the quorum was lost, so the item was not heard and will subsequently pass through council without any comments from the Future Melbourne Committee.

Councillors are elected to represent the interests of the community, and not who donates to their election campaign. While it may be legal, that is no justification. Where are the values and integrity in accepting donations from a developer, and worse, one who is a significant player in the municipality? Just absolutely disgraceful!

Southbank has also lost some of its public open space in Queensbridge Square to a coffee shop. Unfortunately there wasn’t much argument to be considered as it appeared Council had already signed off on this back in 2011.

I asked the question as to who or what process was used to determine that a cafe was the answer to ‘activating’ this space. Cr Ong took it on notice. I would hazard a guess that no public consultation determined a cafe was the answer.

Nevertheless it is a loss to Southbank to see community space being approved for such purposes.

I made a submission to the draft budget for FY15/16. Although to be limited to speak for three minutes on a 10-page document of such significant importance makes a mockery of council’s desire for community comment.

Of course the top items I made comment on were community infrastructure and open space. I advised council that at times we feel like the forgotten cousins of the municipality.

While we are the second largest financial contributor to the municipality we certainly don’t notice the spending in our neighbourhood, yet we see significant investment in Docklands, which is future-proofing their community, but we only see band-aid solutions for Southbank.

Cr Wood responded advising Southbank is going to be getting significant open space through the transformation of Southbank Boulevard.

This is the first I have heard of such a plan, sounds interesting but until the plans are made public I reserve my comment. So watch this newspaper as more detail is released.

Finally, the inaugural meeting for Southbank Owners’ Corporation Network (SOCN) was a resounding success with all contributors confirming this is a network that Southbank needs and it will be beneficial to all OCs with carrying out their duties and making our complexes and community a better place to invest and live.

Ask your complex committee if your complex is a member of Southbank Residents’ Group, if not recommend them to join to also benefit from this great community initiative.

Tony Penna

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