Dear readers, goodbye and thank you!
It is with some sadness and a great deal of both pride and gratitude that I bring my contribution to the Montague Community Alliance to an end.
Nearly 10 years ago, in January 2013, I happened to be walking down Bay St, Port Melbourne and saw the then local paper, which I noticed had a photo of one my neighbour’s houses in Gladstone St, South Melbourne.
Upon reading I realised that the article was about the demolition of a beautiful double-fronted 1870 weatherboard home, to build a 12-storey apartment block. To say I was stunned was an understatement!
I then went to all my neighbours, both businesses and residents, and discovered that no one knew about it and everyone was equally stunned as me.
We also discovered, to our horror, that in 2012 we had become rezoned from mixed-use commercial to Capital City Zone, the implications of which were that we went from being able to object to planning applications and potentially take matters to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to having no third-party rights.
So, that was the beginning and here we are today the fastest growing precinct in Fishermans Bend and potentially, Victoria. Who knew this when we all moved into a close-knit sleepy hollow in South Melbourne?
We held our first community meeting in May 2013 at the Father Bob Foundation’s warehouse on Gladstone St, and there we began.
We were successful with so many issues during these past few years. Namely, establishing connections with the City of Port Philip’s community consultation group – that was brilliant when it started.
We lobbied for lower density and lower building heights, particularly on the interface with residential Port Melbourne and South Melbourne, both of which we achieved in part.
We developed a working group with the Fishermans Bend Taskforce, which unfortunately came to a halt with the pandemic.
We held many, many community meetings and attracted senior members of the state government, VicRoads, the City of Port Philip and the Fishermans Bend Ministerial Advisory Committee, and later, the Fishermans Bend Development Board. We thank all those involved.
I hope that the person or people who take up the mantle of supporting this fabulous precinct can move the relationships and lobbying into the next iteration of community support and I wish them very well and hope that those relationships with the planners, government offices and specifically the council, the Taskforce and the Development Board continue to grow for the good of the whole area.
Before I conclude I would like to sincerely offer my personal and profound gratitude to the following people …
- Martin Foley
- Josh Burns
- Sara Madderson
- Bernadene Voss
- Meredith Sussex
- Amanda Stevens
- Dick Gross
- Marcus Pearl
And, most importantly, and not just for his personal contribution to Montague and our community but for his friendship and thoughtfulness – Sean Car, the editor-in-chief and publisher of all the Hyperlocal News mastheads, including Southbank News – the “Voice of Montague”.
Thank you, dear readers, for all your support of the Montague Community Alliance I am deeply grateful to everyone who has ever attended a meeting, read this column or offered their support and expertise.
I have left now the area and am now living in Southbank where I am involved with new community group SOUTHBANK3006.
I’ll see you around folks! •