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Montague Community Alliance

08 May 2019

Montague Community Alliance Image

Hello … Hi … Hi … Over here … What about us? YES, US!

If you wandered around our lovely Montague Precinct over the last couple of months you would wonder where the gains of the last years have gone, where our hard work as the Montague Community Alliance has disappeared to.

We really thought we had been listened to, but NO … Here are some of the things that have gone backwards for our Montague Precinct:

Rubbish: We are being used as a tip again. Discarded washing machines, household goods and there are more cigarette butts than ever before. There are no areas for smokers around their own offices so they use the streets, our small garden areas and the park as ashtrays. And we locals pick up the butts … Plastic bottles, discarded coffee cups and food containers from the local cafes all over the streets, or the residents’ rubbish bins. The businesses from whence these workers emerge, seem to find it easier to access others’ bins or the street bins than their own.

Development sites: Have you walked up Buckhurst St on the way to the South Melbourne Primary School recently? Next to the Carlins demolition site there are piles and piles of rubbish. The rough sleepers on the Fifteen85 site have moved on, but there is significant rubbish and discarded food, a complete health hazard to the residents and workers of Gladstone St.

Parks: Created in the 1800s, Page Reserve is almost dead. We know, that the usage of the park has increased significantly and we are all suffering from lack of rain, but parks in other parts of the municipality are being looked after. What about US?

The charities: Montague is home to Father Bob’s Foundation and Orange Sky with worthy and remarkable founders, who do amazing work and who I am sure the community supports. However, situating themselves in a growing area for both business and residents, requires these charities to also focus on the community they are based in, as well as the community of their clients. Can they be kinder, more thoughtful to the local community regarding noise, rubbish and the foot traffic they emit? If so, we are sure they would garner even more support.

There is a looming Federal election

Last month we asked the ALP candidate Josh Burns (my personal favourite) to tell us what he thought of Montague, this month we asked the Liberal and Greens Candidates to tell us their thoughts.

Only the Greens candidate responded, thank you to Steph Hodgins-May.

Who are you, tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Steph Hodgins-May, the Greens candidate for Macnamara. I previously worked as a planning and environment lawyer and now run a small business. I live in St Kilda with my partner and our one-year-old, Otis.

I ran in this seat in 2016 when it was called Melbourne Ports and came within 477 votes of winning, I’m running again at this election because we need a strong, local voice to stand up for the issues that matter to our community.

What brought you to be interested in the Montague Precinct (MP) of South Melbourne?

As a candidate seeking to represent this community in parliament, I take a strong interest in the issues that affect all residents.

What do you consider are the best and/or most interesting things about the MP?

There is incredible opportunity in the Montague Precinct, from its rich history in places like the bluestone laneways to the new developments. With so many new people moving into the area, we have a chance now to shape the area to cater for the growing community.

However, this potential won’t be realised unless we take a co-operative approach across all levels of government, local, state and federal and put people at the heart of the planning decisions that are made. This means that we need to end political donations from property developers to ensure that political leaders are responsive to the needs of the community, not their big donors.

How do you think living or working in Montague affects the quality of life/work, for the current residents and businesses?

I hear from many residents that they are feeling the pressure of the high amount of development. I understand that people are frustrating with the lack of planning and co-ordination for the area. Whilst there is an opportunity to create a vibrant and liveable community, this won’t be achieved unless the voices of community members are put at the centre of the planning process.

What would you consider are the challenges of living or working in MP?

Residents have told me that it is difficult living in an area with so much construction noise and disruption. Not only is the noise and dust from construction frustrating, it is also difficult to build a sense of community during it. As with other high-density areas, there are also challenges with traffic, congestion and transport in the area.

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

The Greens are committed to the proper revitalisation of the Fishermans Bend area. We want to ensure that there is sufficient open space and community infrastructure to avoid additional pressure on the Montague Precinct. We have announced Metro 2 to ensure that this area is well connected to the CBD and beyond.

We also have a policy to ban political donations from property developers so that we can put people and community back at the centre of development. One step in the right direction would be to put in place voluntary neighbourhood agreements with developers that include a schedule of works i.e., ban works on Saturdays and ensure mutual respect.

Trisha Avery - Convener

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