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YRBA making worldwide connections

11 Jun 2013

YRBA making worldwide connections Image

Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) executive officer Tim Bracher turned globe-trotter last month as he embarked on a fact-finding mission in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mr Bracher was hosted by Waterfront Auckland. He attended several meetings with many of its stakeholders and visited many of the sites along the waterfront of New Zealand’s largest city.

Mr Bracher also addressed 18 members of Waterfront Auckland about the potential of Melbourne’s waterfront areas and the issues it has, and continues to face.

The visit was organised through the Waterfront Connections Committee, which was formed after last year’s Melbourne Waterfront Forum, which featured Waterfront Auckland’s marketing and communications manager, John Gundesen.

In Mr Bracher’s report on his trip, he makes many observations about Auckland’s waterfront and how Melbourne could learn from its experiences.

Some of his key findings were:

The authenticity of the Auckland waterfront. Mr Bracher compares the use of its heritige to the minimal efforts in Melbourne to maintain historical relevance on the waterfront.

The everyday activation of the Auckland waterfront thanks, in part, to the embracing of everyday elements of the area. The use of a fish market and boat repair stalls maintain activation on a practical and daily basis.

The integration of water transport in every day life. This has been a constant talking point for Melbourne’s Yarra, with no solution in sight.

The ability of one integrated entity to plan, control and execute the vision for the waterfront space. Compared with the 15 government agencies and organisations with a say over Melbourne’s waterfront, it cuts through a lot of the red tape and political problems.

Mr Bracher said the trip provided the perfect opportunity to give the YRBA some perspective on Melbourne’s waterfront and get the ball rolling on some new ideas for the future.

“Waterfront Auckland is a role model of what can be done with limited budgets, creative minds, a fully supportive council and an integrated waterfront organisation,” Mr Bracher said.

“Melbourne often misses the mark because it tries to get things aesthetically perfect, which usually involves expensive consultancies and big ticket solutions. We might win international solutions and pick some of the ‘low fruit’ to activate and enliven spaces.”

“For example, key locations like Queensbridge Square could be lively, attractive public spaces if small business and residents had been involved in its planning and delivery from the outset,” he added.

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