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Residents get behind local business

10 Nov 2016

Residents get behind local business Image

Montague residents have banded together with local businesses in an effort to prevent road closures, which they say will threaten the viability of their Southbank businesses.

The South Port Urban Responsible Renewal (SPURR) and the Montague Community Alliance have backed calls from local businesses in the Surveyors Place creative hub for the Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to reject the City of Port Phillip’s move to close parts of Gladstone and Ferrars streets.

The council’s current plan also proposes narrowing Kerr, Buckhurst and Douglas streets and removing 183 car parks as part of a new park and primary school.

With more than 25 businesses employing over 400 people, Surveyors Place Owners’ Corporation (OC) member Peter Harvey said the plan would destroy  many businesses.  

At the City of Port Phillip’s September 13 council meeting, councillors back-flipped on a compromised proposal that planning officers had negotiated with businesses that would see some car parks remain and keep Ferrars St open.

They instead voted six to one in favour of delivering its original plan in its full vision, leaving local business owners outraged.

“The council obviously want us gone so they can have it all,” Mr Harvey said.

“We spent a lot of time and money negotiating with council staff on three compromised solutions that allow additional land from the roads in front of our businesses to be used by the school and park.”

Montague businesswoman, resident and Montague Community Alliance convener Trisha Avery said she was appalled by council’s backflip on the issue.

“Local people convinced the councillors to engage with the hub to find a compromise that would allow the park to go ahead and the businesses to survive,” she said.

“No sooner was the compromise found, than the councillors rejected it. It’s outrageous.”

SPURR convener Rowan Groves said the road closures were another example of bad planning for Fishermans Bend.

“The whole Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area is supposed to be where residents, businesses, schools and community facilities work together,” he said.

“This decision shows at least one responsible authority has no idea how to balance competing needs.”  

“The State Government released its vision for Montague by 2050, which claims the area will support a myriad of businesses including creative industries. Just not the ones that are there.”

Mr Groves has urged the newly elected Port Phillip Council to reverse its decision and said his group had already arranged meetings with new councillors on the issue.

The new look nine-seated council has been divided into three new large wards of Canal, Lake and Gateway, which are each represented by three councillors.

Gateway now covers the ward formerly known as Emerald Hill, which includes Montague. Its three representatives on council are newcomers Marcus Pearl and Oggy Simic and returning councillor Bernadene Voss.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne, who will have the final say on the plans, did not provide comment when contacted by Southbank Local News.

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