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“Major concerns” for recast vision

12 Jul 2016

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City of Melbourne councillors have expressed concerns around a number of elements of the State Government’s recast vision of the Fishermans Bend urban renewal precinct.

In its submission to the vision, which was discussed at the July 5 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, the City of Melbourne raised a number of issues around transport, sustainability, infrastructure and land use.

The government’s new vision has earmarked distinct land uses within five separate neighbourhoods of Montague, Sandridge, Lorimer, Wirraway and a new employment precinct.

The Montague precinct, much of which includes areas of Southbank and South Wharf, was an early recipient of former Liberal planning minister Matthew Guy’s “capital city” rezoning of the urban renewal area.

The area has already been subject to more than 10,000 approved apartments and has therefore been touted for residential and retail use, while others have their own specific visions in place.

Cr Rohan Leppert said that because the capital city zoning applied across all of Fishermans Bend, the plan would be nothing more than “nice words” if the government couldn’t explain how it planned to achieve its specific vision.

“This is the elephant in the room for me, the vision talks about the five different precincts and what land uses are going to be there,” he said.

“How every precinct is going to look in however-many years time, saying that you’re going to have artists’ studios over here and only employment over here and certain types of residential apartments over here and light industry here.”

“None of it is going to be achieved with the capital city zone applying across the entire area and (with) no other planning controls in place to direct land uses.”

Councillors argued that the vision failed to provide any meaningful strategies around delivering viable public transport links, schools and public open space.

Councillor Stephen Mayne said he was also concerned by how much of the community infrastructure required for Fishermans Bend was going to be funded and by whom.

“There are proposals for some solid developer contributions and regimes but it is still unclear who’s going to write the cheques to really deliver the public benefit that’s really needed to fulfill the vision for Fishermans Bend,” he said.

“I’m not sure where we’ll be with Fishermans Bend in five years, given some of these uncertainties. But I think we’re heading in the right direction having got off to a chaotic start in terms of embracing this region as an urban zone.”

After former minister Guy rezoned Fishermans Bend, many development approvals were granted before the 2014 state election.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he disagreed with Cr Mayne’s view that Fishermans Bend had been the subject of a chaotic start, but said it was important a long-term approach was adopted to planning.

“The only instrument around developing Fishermans Bend, given that it’s private land, is land-use planning and that’s in our control and therefore we are going to be one of the key players in how it plays out,” he said.

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