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Southbank Residents’ Association

08 Jul 2020

Vale Marcus de Rijk

By Tony Penna - President

It is with great sadness that I advise of the passing of a treasured committee member, Marcus de Rijk, who was recently so suddenly taken from us by a tragic accident.

Joining Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) after moving to Southbank three years ago, Marcus had been a valued member of our committee and will be sorely missed.

His love for Southbank was translated into his commitment on our committee and he was always so generous with his time.

More can be learnt about Marcus in the obituary on page 4. SRA passes its condolences to his wife Claire whom is due to have their first child this month.

It is that time of year again where council considers the budget for the next financial year. Sadly, and as has been usual for the past four years, the City Rd upgrade is lacking. In fact, missing this year. And once again, my questions to council officers are not fully answered.

However, I did get some of my questions on the delays answered by the council’s CEO Justin Hanney. Despite the masterplan indicating City Rd West should be finished by now, in years gone by we have always been told the delays have been attributed to the concurrent works on Southbank Boulevard and Boyd Park, even though these concurrent works were acknowledged in the masterplan. Mr Hanney has advised the delays are now in the hands of VicRoads who are yet to formally schedule the works with their department. It makes me wonder when the council actually reached out to VicRoads for them to have not scheduled these works after four years. In light of the challenges the council faces with COVID-19 and its first ever deficit, SRA did not request a special adjustment to the budget this year.

Talking about COVID-19, it is certainly a disappointment the government seems to have been let down by some rogue security operators which has put our community into a level of despair. In light of the lockdown of the nine housing commission towers, owing to their heightened risk of transmission from high-density living, some residents have expressed their concern that this could happen in our Southbank buildings too. My opinion is, while there is a risk this could happen anywhere in any high-density building, the significant difference between the locked-down buildings and ours is that we are not living in as cramped or shared conditions. These are housing commission properties where they often have a greater sense of community within their buildings which leads to greater interaction. But they also have many more shared facilities, such as their laundries. There is significantly more interaction between residents in these housing commission towers than the everyday interactions in our typical Southbank tower. While it is no reason to let our guards down, I think we need to put our buildings into perspective when comparing. In any case, I am sure it must be a devastating experience for those residents, and I wish for a speedy and safe resolution to their situation.

As always for this time of year, our SRA AGM is scheduled to be held in August. It will be a virtual meeting and we will share the details in next month’s column. SRA members will need to ensure they have renewed their membership to be eligible to vote. If you are not yet a member and would like to support your local community advocacy association, then please sign up at our website, southbankresidents.org.au, or maybe you might like the opportunity to contribute to your community by joining our committee? If you would like to know more about our committee please reach out to me at president@southbankresidents.org.au.

Stay safe everyone and remember to keep your distance! •

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