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Living with …

Living with …
Trisha Avery

Happy New Year, dear readers. Not sure how each of your year has started, hopefully with full health, employment and strong relationships. We are going to need all our strength to navigate 2022 as we are moving into year three of this global life-changing event.

We have two elections coming up this year, a federal and a state, and I hope we will have the opportunity to hear how our precinct and the whole of Fishermans Bend is viewed at all levels of government. And, when the time comes, we look forward to partnering with other local community groups to hold “Meet the Candidates Debates” and, of course, we will let you all know where and when.

There are clearly ongoing challenges with us being able to access information about what is happening with development, amenity and placemaking, and we are not (as continually promised) receiving direct, or easily found communications about immediate plans for the Montague Precinct.  At the Fishermans Bend Business Forum in late 2021, the chair of the Fishermans Bend Development Board and members of the Fishermans Bend Taskforce gave assurances that the (completed) Montague Precinct Plans would be delivered in early 2022.

However, it appears that with the latest surge in COVID numbers, members of the Fishermans Bend Taskforce have been seconded to other areas of need and those with local knowledge such as the council or state members are also busy elsewhere. Notwithstanding the obvious circumstances that has caused these secondments, development and growth in the precinct continues apace. I understand that for the “powers that be” this is a good thing, but what of the residents and businesses who are still living with noise, dirt and daily challenges with all that large and multiple building sites brings. We have not had any respite or even care …

I was fortunate to be able to speak to Meredith Sussex AM, the Chair of the Fishemans Bend Development Board, about community concerns that were being forgotten. She responded to our concerns promptly and with understanding, and here is what she said …

“A new year and new challenges.

The Board is really pleased that development in Montague is proceeding, providing new homes in a great location and jobs in exciting new businesses.

But we are aware that ongoing construction does cause disruption, and that some residents feel that they do not have enough information about what is planned for the area. We want to work to address these concerns as much as possible.

Obviously COVID has impacted everything, including our community consultation program.

Our plan for additional infrastructure and open space in Montague and the Fishermans Bend precinct will be out for discussion soon, as will the detailed Montague implementation plan. These plans are built on all the earlier planning work, and the community input which informed that work. We look forward to further community input over the next few months.

In the meantime, we are celebrating the opening of our new local secondary school, and looking forward to a new year of working to deliver great outcomes for Fishermans Bend.”

It is comforting that we have been thought about now, but please, Fishermans Bend Board and Taskforce, we need more direct and easy to access communication. Please don’t tell us to go the website, not everyone can find the information online.

We do look forward to those community consultations, as long as they are real and are about the local residents and businesses, not just those from other areas who don’t live or work here but want to “show off” their local knowledge or their planning expertise. Please make them truly local, for the ones living with the day-to-day challenges of being in a high growth and development area.

Thanks for reading folks •

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