Community, community, community

Community, community, community

By Jannine Pattison

July has been all about community, and I’d like to start with a big “Happy Birthday” to the beating heart of Southbank.

Boyd Community Hub celebrated 10 years as a meeting place, library, and community support service space. The celebrations on July 4 saw many people gather to celebrate, enjoying crafting, music, storytelling, good coffee, and cake.

It is a joy that this heritage protected building, with so much history, has been restored and embraced by the community as a much-loved part of our every day and has maintained its original, though much evolved, purpose of putting family first.

In keeping with this month’s theme of community, one of the biggest projects has just broken ground in Southbank …

The Melbourne Arts Precinct Transformation incorporates the refurbishment of the Arts Centre, the creation of 18,000 sqm of open green space in Southbank and building the Fox NGV Contemporary gallery which will be the largest contemporary gallery in Australia and one of the largest in the world with 10,000 sqm of exhibition and education space.  Construction of this major infrastructure will occur over several years and will change the area during and post construction. It will change life and how we know and experience the eastern end of Southbank.

As a major destination gallery, it is designed to attract people from across the world not just from Australia. The challenge for residents, MAP Co, and the NGV will be how this facility and space work together to enhance the amenity for local people.

The announcement of this major and incredible project naturally raises uncertainty, generating concerns for residents. In response to the fear, uncertainty and doubt residents flagged with us, Southbank3006 reached out to MAP Co – the Victorian Government Agency responsible for the Arts Precinct Transformation – to come and brief residents in an open forum of the project, timing, and design developments.

On Sunday, July 31 we convened one of our regular Sunday Issue events to enable residents to discuss this major project with CEO of MAP Co Katrina Sedgwick and group head, civic infrastructure for Development Victoria Hannah Clement, to talk about the precinct transformation, the project build and what residents can expect throughout construction.

This event was so overwhelmingly popular. With the assistance of MAP Co, we were able to move from our regular venue at the Assembly Hall, Boyd Community Hub, to the much larger Festival Space at the Holiday Inn Southbank and yet we still reached full capacity! This speaks to the importance of communication around this tremendous project but also highlights the lack of community facilities in Southbank with its dense population.

It also highlights that even though we have many theatres, education, and arts facilities none of these are accessible for community use as their focus is outside our area. Helping destination facilities to better align to meet the needs of the local Southbank community is a challenge we have set ourselves to bring about to enhance the vibrancy and liveability of Southbank for the people who make it their home. We opened our event by setting out the need for MAP Co to consider how its facilities work in the area.


The development team listened and committed to ongoing engagement with Southbank3006 and residents on a regular basis throughout the project and post construction. MAPCo will communicate frequently with Southbank3006 at each stage of the build so residents’ ongoing concerns and needs are both heard, validated, and, most importantly, acted upon.


We also learned that key issues around traffic management, wind, noise are being revisited at present. On design we also learned that the public realm connecting St Kilda Rd, the rear of the NGV, the FOX NGV Contemporary and Sturt St will now be a green open space adding a much-needed area to Southbank and not another version of Federation Square as originally discussed by the project. This is a very welcome development for a neighbourhood where open space isn’t a premium.

Finally, and most importantly, the next iteration of the designs for The Fox NGV Contemporary will be realised shortly. This will add greater detail on the façade of the building, including the northern façade onto Kavanagh St and the proposed height of the various elements in the gallery including its roof top restaurant and garden space and how this will work.

The openness and engagement of both the MAP Co and the Development Victoria team was appreciated by all who attended, and Southbank3006 look forward to productive ongoing engagement with them over the coming years.

Southbank3006 is committed to connection and improving liveability, as such our next community forum will be held on Sunday, August 28 and will focus on connecting community by helping members start up special interest groups.

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