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What’s behind the lights?

Montague Community Alliance

07 Aug 2019

Montague Community Alliance Image

Is Fishermans Bend stalling?

In the past month, we’ve been fortunate enough to have had discussions with senior members of the State Government, the City of Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip.

It appears that development in some of the precincts in Fishermans Bend is stalling. This, of course, is not the case in Montague, which has about seven developments going on right now.

One is the first tower of Fifteen85’s three-tower project in Gladstone St and RCorporation’s towers on the old Oxford University Press site at Normanby Rd. There are also some mid-range high-rise and townhouses under construction.

The other precincts - Sandridge, Wirraway, Lorimer and the Employment Precinct - are not developing as fast as Montague for a number of reasons, but surely one of the most important reasons is public transport. It appears that until this is solved and the business case for the new tram line over (or under) the Yarra River is successful, it will be difficult for the Fishermans Bend Development Board and the various levels of government to assuage the concerns of the developers, the universities, local businesses and residents.

Metro2 is too far away to be relevant for current developments, however, some type of good public transport must be provided. As it appears to be the policy of the state government to reduce parking and access for cars in this area, it would be difficult to live or work in the Employment Precinct or parts of Wirraway and Lorimer.

Let’s hope federal, state and local governments can collaborate on finding the budget to start building this much needed infrastructure as soon as possible.

And now, introducing a Montaguan … Jen Sharpe:

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am founder/director of Think HQ and Lumin and director of CultureVerse. I have been running my business for nearly nine-and-a-half years and our team comprises 30 people. I am also happily married and have two beautiful daughters aged three and five. My business Think HQ is committed to only working on projects that lead to positive social benefit. I am at heart an optimist.

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

My previous office was also in South Melbourne, but over the other side of Clarendon St. We ran out of room, so I moved in to Thistlethwaite St. What attracted me in the first instance is that our building that we rent used to be a post-production film studio, so we have two fantastic studios that we use for all our in-house production.

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

I love that the area is a blank canvas and that it will change significantly over the next few years. I always like to be a part of change. I love that there is so much access to public transport and am delighted that Harry from Industrie is taking over the Wayside Inn (our closest pub), because he does such great food.

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

My younger daughter attends kinder in Middle Park and my elder daughter attends the new South Melbourne Park Primary school. Working where I do means that I have quick and easy access to either of them at any time. I think the team love working in the area too.

Are there any challenges with living or working in the MP?

I think the ongoing construction will provide some challenges. A recent demolition of a building was so impactful that it continually shook the foundations of our building and was a very stressful experience for my team and any visiting clients. It felt like an ongoing earthquake for days. I would also be really worried if I was the landlord in terms of structural damage. Car parking is also a massive issue. I understand the push for a car-free city, however, for the working parents in my team who live in the outer suburbs, it is simply not practical to jump on a train and then tram once they have dropped their kids off at school/childcare. The all-day parks are, of course, taking up by all the trades that start earlier in the day.

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

If I could change that to “somethings”, it would be more parking, more street cleaning and greater consultation around construction activity.

Thank you, dear readers, and as usual if you have any ideas for this column, or feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to contact me – or our Facebook page @MontaguePrecinct or Twitter @MontComAlliance.


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