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Montague Community Alliance

11 Jul 2019

Montague Community Alliance Image

Montague hosts a community roundtable

On June 18, The Montague Community Alliance (MCA) and the Fishermans Bend Taskforce held the first of what we hope will be regular meetings at the Golden Fleece Hotel in Montague.

The roundtable was initiated to discuss and engage with a small group of representatives from across the Montague Precinct on how the precinct will be developed. It really is the beginning of a seemingly lengthy process, as the Taskforce develop specific “Precinct Plans” across the whole of Fishermans Bend. We thank them for their interest in our views on the basics, and we look forward to hearing more formed ideas as we move forward.

Some key areas of our discussion included:

  • Where further open space would be located;
  • How mobility around the precinct would be managed (do we need more bike lanes and less parking?);
  • How the elderly and those that require cars for mobility will be accommodated;
  • A decision has been made to have a green spine along Buckhurst Street; what that could mean for business access and the potential closure of other smaller streets to create street level pedestrian/community presence; and (importantly) …
  • How they [the Taskforce] determine priorities.

Some of the priorities discussed were a pedestrian crossing at Montague and Buckhurst streets intersection, and greater street lighting around the South Melbourne Primary School and surrounding streets.

During the meeting, there was some concern from business about lessening the parking and greening a major street that already had businesses requiring deliveries and vehicle access.

We put forward our community group’s priorities:

Saving all the bluestone laneways. These are some of the only fine grain left in one of the oldest parts of Melbourne and are a direct link to our history.

Naming the lanes and ensuring these names celebrate our precinct’s collective history, including our indigenous history.

Continuing to work with the City of Port Philip and the Taskforce in creating “Neighbourhood Agreements” that create an opportunity for the developers and the community to support each other. For example, the community not interfering or blocking the developers and their construction companies in doing their work. And the developers and builders ensuring that they don’t pile drive or pour concrete on weekends, and that their demolition and building schedules are regularly uploaded on to a website that can be accessed by the local community.

And as a joint idea, the Taskforce and the City of Port Philip locate an office in each precinct as it is being developed (Montague being the first), manned or womaned by a person available to the community, whose role is to communicate and support the community’s and the developer’s questions and challenges during this period of growth. We would like to see this happen as a matter of urgency.

We want to thank the Taskforce for meeting with us and taking our opinions seriously and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with them over the next few months.

Meet a Montaguan

One of participants in these discussions is a new and exciting business that has come into Montague over the last couple of years - Westside Ale Works at 36 Alfred Street. Casey Wagner with his partner Leah Ruppaner are the owners of this bespoke brewery; please meet Casey Wagner; a Montaguan…

I am an American expat enjoying life in Melbourne. I own Westside Ale Works which is an American West Coast style brewery with freshly made to order pizzas and over 30 beers on tap!

My background is hospitality and I spent almost 15 years managing front office operations for Hilton Hotels back in the States and Melbourne. I was looking for a new challenge and craft beer was just now taking off in Australia. I used my hospitality knowledge and home brewer background and came up with the concept for Westside Ale Works. I then left my corporate job and haven’t looked back in the past three years of this amazing journey!

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

My partner received a job offer for The University of Melbourne as a professor and they sponsored our family. We chose this precinct because of the proximity to the CBD and a great up-and-coming area with lots of growth potential, as well as established neighbourhoods.

What do you find are the best and/or most interesting things about living or working in MP?

The diversity of the area in terms of what is on offer. There are great markets, restaurants/pubs, beach, pet friendly, schools all within easy access of the city. The commuting life is not for us so it just made sense.

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

We have a very healthy work life balance compared to other cities we have lived in. My business is within 3 km of my home and my daughters’ school is two blocks away. It allows us to spend more quality time together.

Are there any challenges with living or working in MP?

There is a lot of construction and changes happening constantly as this precinct is being developed. Which ultimately will be great for the area.

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

Even more green space would be great! I love how many parks there are in Melbourne and think this area could have even more!

Trisha Avery - Convener

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