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What’s behind the lights?

Montague Community Alliance

08 Jul 2020

So near, yet so far …

By Trisha Avery - Convener 

We were nearly there … or so we thought.

It has been great to move around, travel around Victoria and go back into restaurants, swimming pools and move into a new normal.

Up until late June, Montague had a feeling of being back to normal e.g. parking was difficult again, the 109 tram was starting to fill up, other South Melbourne Market shops had opened, restaurants and cafes looked full, shops were opening and the sense of the community always being in a hurry was back in the air …

The following week was a whole other story. There is little or no foot traffic, except for the tradespeople working on the numerous construction sites. The local coffee shop in Gladstone St which had been almost back to its usual frantic pace has hardly anyone in it, and there are loads of parking spaces. School holidays may have something to do with it, but those times don’t normally result in it being quite so quiet around here. However, our close-knit community is looking out for each other and we remain connected and engaged with our precinct, albeit with social distancing.

We have an update on Kirrip Park - apparently it was always meant to be an on-leash park, but no one did anything about communicating that for 20 months. The council officers responsible did not let the community know in advance that it was changing to an on-leash area, how disrespectful!

One of the significant areas of focus for the Fishermans Bend Taskforce and the Cities of Port Philip and Melbourne, is to create “communities”. Well that occurred naturally by folks from Montague, Ferrars St and surrounds and Southbank getting together on weekend mornings, with their dogs, to enjoy Kirrip Park. We looked after the park, picking up rubbish and it was through our communication to the council that a second rubbish bin was installed and areas of the park that were damaged were fixed. This new community has disappeared as we all need to exercise our dogs in on-leash areas, and as well as the dogs socialising, we did too and I know we are all missing that.

Question for all the powers that be … why can’t we have the park as leash- free on weekends? There is literally no one else using it on weekends … and when I went there last weekend, the park is strewn with plastic bags, cigarette butts and empty drink receptacles … this is the consequence of bad community engagement and no happy park users to pick up rubbish and look after the park.

The City of Port Phillip elections are coming up in October and the candidates are beginning to emerge. This year the elections will be contested by all the major political parties and some independents. We hope that they will all take the time to understand all parts of Fishermans Bend and the Montague Precinct in particular.

And two more very important points:

The Montague Precinct Plans are completed … and we are calling for them to be released for community consultation NOW!

The only thing we know for sure (although there is much speculation of other items) is that there will be traffic lights installed at Buckhurst and Montague streets to provide safer connection for pedestrians across Montague St.

Please release the plans … it’s been eight years since we had plans for the area released! And we look forward to hearing directly from the Fishermans Bend Taskforce to set up the next Montague Working Group meeting.

The second point is to offer our gratitude to the Mayor of the City of Port Philip, Cr Bernadene Voss. We understand that Bernadene is stepping down as a councillor at the next election and we are sad to hear this. Bernadene has been an advocate for the Montague community and attended our first ever meeting in 2013.

Thank you Bernadene and we wish you every success for the future and look forward to your further involvement with our precinct.

If you have any comments or ideas for content of this column please contact us on email below or our Facebook page @MontaguePrecinct, or on Twitter @MontComAlliance. We welcome your comments •

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