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“Work with us,” Arts Centre asks council

03 Mar 2020

“Work with us,” Arts Centre asks council Image

Arts Centre Melbourne said ongoing construction work in Southbank has impacted their customer base, and wants the City of Melbourne to better inform them about future disruptions.

After the council approved plans for demolition and expansion works on Southbank Promenade, including replacing failing pavements, inefficient lights and dying trees, a representative from Arts Centre Melbourne said it wanted to avoid the problems associated with the nearby Southbank Boulevard project.

Addressing councillors at the February 18 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, executive director of customer experience at Arts Centre Melbourne Beau Vigushin asked the council to work with them better during times of change.

“Strength in collaboration is what will deliver the best outcomes for our shared community, particularly during periods of change and disruption,” he said.

“The Southbank Boulevard project has impacted us not only financially but more importantly it’s impacted our customers. And it’s still impacting them, due to limited directional signage and traffic light sequencing that’s not working efficiently.”

As reported in last month’s Southbank News, works to complete the current stage of Southbank Boulevard’s new linear park could continue for another 12 to 18 months.

Southbank News understands other institutions within the arts precinct such as the Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Theatre Company and Buxton Contemporary have all expressed frustration with the impact works have had on customers.

Mr Vigushin said that while it “could not be more thrilled” with investment within the arts precinct, they wanted a more collaborative on-going plan to soften the effects of disruption.

“It’s of high value to us that we can communicate with our customers proactively and effectively so we can stay one step ahead. The Southbank Boulevard project has proven the longer-term impact of not being one step ahead for us. So, we want to make sure we get on the front foot with this project.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp expressed sympathy with Arts Centre Melbourne, and admitted recent delays had been frustrating for all.

“These are issues we are aware of every day given our Southbank Boulevard experience. For lots of good reasons and some not so good, we’ve seen almost everything happen that could delay that [project], and there have been a lot of learnings.”

Arts, culture and heritage portfolio chair Cr Rohan Leppert said he wanted to give groups and businesses greater understanding of the Promenade plans.

“As proponents, I want to make sure that we are being as consultative as possible and providing the Arts Centre and others with every bit of certainty as possible around a construction plan, especially given all the other disruption that’s going on in the area.”

The start date of stage one of Southbank Promenade works between Evan Walker and Princes Bridges is still to be determined. •

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