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Montague Community Alliance

08 Aug 2018

Montague Community Alliance Image

Can we be good neighbours?

We currently have a unique opportunity in this high-growth, capital city-zoned area to do things differently – to be a strong and embedded community that respects and notices each other.

Take a minute and think about this … a builder, constructing that very tall and disruptive building next door, wishes you good morning and you, knowing the schedule of work because they inform you weekly, can warmly respond and wish them a good day pouring concrete!

And, as they have informed you in their weekly communication about the pour, you are leaving the house to hang out with friends during this loud and messy phase of the build.

Sound odd? Well actually, we’ve already achieved this with one developer here in Montague and it was very easy.

The developer communicated with us weekly, provided contact phone numbers, abided to the bylaws and didn’t undertake pile driving, concrete pouring, or other major disruptive, excessively noisy activities on Saturdays – thus ensuring residents were able to have restful, liveable family times on weekends.

The flow-on from this is that the neighbourhood has warmly welcomed the new residents of 45 apartments and have a positive attitude to this exponential growth.

We see no reason why normal, considerate developers, builders and community members cannot do something similar for ALL the other developments here in Montague.

We are trying to get the City of Port Phillip to ensure that this is actively encouraged at the permitting stage and then again at construction, including asking the developers and builders to sign a voluntary neighbourhood agreement.

It helps to meet face-to-face and surely developers and builders would want to have a business and residential community welcome them into the neighbourhood, be polite and considerate and not make it only about revenue.

Come on COPP and MCC, let’s do this. And as it’s being developed right now, let’s start with Montague … Neighbourhood agreements NOW.

Meet a Montaguan … Titane Laurent

Who are you?  My name is Titane Laurent. I am an artist, a mum and the founder of the LAURENT Gallery. I grew up in Belgium moving here from the United States four years ago with my husband Jonathon Miller and our two children Ellieh and Swann. 

What brought you to live or work in the Montague Precinct (MP) of South Melbourne?

As an artist, I travelled a lot and during my time in France, New York and Miami, and I grew fond of their industrial art districts. I was fascinated by the fact that the city managed to transform ugly industrial areas into vibrant, inspiring art centres. The Montague Precinct contains an abundance of buildings that fit this description.  I was inspired to transform the interior of one of them into an oasis of contemporary beauty. It’s probably what brought me to Thistlethwaite St to plant our art space. The Montague Precinct has the same feel as the art district of Miami but without the art (aside from the LAURENT Gallery of course!). It has great industrial buildings, big roller doors, large spaces for workshops etc. It was love at the first sight! 

What are the best and/or most interesting things about living in MP?

MP is special because it’s still rough and unpolished. Personally, suburbs with lovely houses and manicured gardens make me queasy. MP is the perfect fit for an artistic soul. It has so much to offer, an amazing industrial look that I cherish, a reasonable sized area for community to grow, affordable rent, relatively close to the beach, parks and the city, quiet yet marginal enough to be interesting and inspiring. 

How does working in Montague affect your quality of life, including your work?

As an artist, Montague has the perfect energy for me to freely create large abstract paintings. It has also, in my opinion huge potential to become artistically extraordinary. I feel inspired here. It reminds me a bit of some arty parts of NY, Miami or even Bobourg in France.  I can be myself, focus on what really matters, ride my bike, wear jeans covered with paint, etc. Our street is messy, desolate after 5.00 pm and in the middle of nowhere is our spotless, white and contemporary art gallery.

What are the challenges of living in MP?

The challenge is that Montague is not yet an art district. There are not enough artists and art lovers visiting, even though our street includes a sculptor, a printer and a designer and that we have art studios, a small coffee shop and free events.

If you could change something about Montague life, what would it be? 

I would become Montague’s fairy godmother, transforming her into the new Bobourg, or Miami art district. A proud community, known for visual art, installations and industrial style galleries.  I would have organised art tours and yearly open studios, massive stunning wall graffiti, parks filled with art, abstract seats, groovy features for people to enjoy. Montague would be the art capital of Melbourne and it would overflow with visitors.


Trisha Avery

Convener - Montague Community Alliance

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