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Long-awaited release of Montague Precinct plans “very imminent”

Long-awaited release of Montague Precinct plans “very imminent”
David Schout

The long-awaited release of the state government’s Montague Precinct plans could happen during or before April, with locals finally having the opportunity to view specific plans for the area.

Former City of Port Phillip Mayor and current Fishermans Bend Business Forum president Bernadene Voss told Southbank News she believed the plans could be released “in the next month”.

The precinct plans are set to provide more specific, street-level details on how a future Montague might look, and would complement the already-released Fishermans Bend Framework.

Ms Voss said she believed that with the government now settled in after retained office in November, a release date was “very imminent”.

“I know that they were completed years ago, and they continue to refine them which is understandable,” she said, adding that the “political landscape” was a key reason for the delay.

The state government did not commit to a release date when contacted by Southbank News, but confirmed that local residents and business owners would play a role in refining the precinct plans.

Ms Voss said this next step was pivotal.

 

It’s really critical the community is taken on the journey, they’re informed about what’s going on, and they have a say in how that all happens. The plans will give certainty to the residential and business community about how the details are going to play out, what’s expected and what the priorities are.

 

Residents and key stakeholders have in recent years criticised the ongoing delays of releasing the plans, arguing it had meant planning was occurring concurrently with rapid private development in the precinct.

According to the government, there was currently a $5.9 billion pipeline of development activity occurring in Fishermans Bend, which included almost $1.8 billion of development (construction value) in the Montague precinct, with 16 separate projects either completed or being built.

“At the moment we have a number of buildings going up and they’re going up in an ad hoc way — there isn’t any planned process to it, it’s just happening whenever the builder or the owners decide they want to do that,” Ms Voss said. “It will be good to finally get that really clear. Most of Montague now is really under way anyway, so it will be good to get the plans completed.”

Medium- to long-term plans for Montague, according to the government framework, include the upgrade of local streets and open space, plus recreation and cultural hubs.

New development in Montague North would be centred on the transformation of Normanby Rd into a landscaped active street that is pedestrian friendly and provides key cycling connections.

The southern part of Montague is set to be characterised by its laneways and heritage buildings. Ms Voss said the precinct plans would put further meat on the bones of this framework.

“At the moment we’ve got a high-level framework which outlines the vision and type of things we can expect. This next level is the detail, and it should outline more of the smaller things and when they will actually occur. That could be lighting, footpaths and the type of streets we’re likely to see.”

She said Montague’s transformation in recent years had been considerable. “Only three years ago you’d go down Buckhurst St (and surrounds) and there was no development. Now, pretty much every building has changed or has plans to change. It’s really taken on its own character, a new and different character that suits the area.”

A Department of Transport and Planning spokesperson said Fishermans Bend, Australia’s largest urban renewal project, was forecast to become home to 23,200 Melbournians and host 4000 jobs by 2050.

“We are continuing to refine plans for the precinct in collaboration with local councils and will keep the community informed as we look to transform Fishermans Bend into a diverse and well-connected mixed-use precinct,” the spokesperson said. •

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