Boulevard of broken dreams


While we are not opposed to the staged development of the Arts Precinct and Southbank Boulevard, we are opposed to the lack of accountability while spending ratepayers’ hard-earned money on projects which have seemingly been plagued with incompetence and inefficiency. How is it that the council’s director of design employed by the City of Melbourne can justify extraordinary delays in the completion of the transformation of the Boulevard by saying, as quoted (issue 93, Southbank News), that the council had been ambitious from the outset? If as suggested the council was ambitious, then why was the project undertaken in the first place and how was the budget approved?  Local residents and ratepayers were not privy to the budget details when they attended the so-called community consultation meetings which were conducted more than two years ago now.  We were asked to comment on mock drawings depicting vast areas of green spaces the entire length of the Boulevard. The drawings depicted established ornamental trees interspersed with recreational spaces, outdoor performance platforms and suchlike. We were assured at the time that the entire project would be completed within a 12- to 18-month timeframe. Furthermore, how can the director justify a spend to date of near $50 million with the entire project virtually at a standstill for more than six months now? Expensive hired equipment remains idle on site as the costs escalate by the day. Are these delays and additional costs also being funded ultimately by ratepayers and taxpayers alike without any consultation? Tonnes of Bamstone pavers (yet to be laid) can be seen among the rubble interspersed with, most recently, discarded household items of furnishings and suchlike. One could be forgiven for thinking that the Boulevard is being transformed into a new space for waste management - a far cry from the promised land of green spaces and recreational paradise. In the meantime, resident ratepayers and visitors alike watch on in disbelief while the blame is shifted elsewhere and the goal posts keep moving. Dorothy Mahony and Geoff Tucker    Keep up the good work On one of my rare visits to city with my Chinese wife (to buy face masks to be sent to relatives in Guangzhou) I luckily came across a copy of your newspaper. Although I’m a Doncaster resident, I found it very interesting. I certainly enjoyed quality articles by the likes of Stephen Mayne, whose views I do not always agree with, but get great enjoyment out of reading. I think my wife even enjoyed the Chinese part which was beyond me to understand. As an infrequent visitor and then generally at night to the Arts Centre and Melbourne Recital Centre how can I get a copy of the newspaper? Morris Waters   

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