Getting to know Isabelle C. (Izzie) is a bit like exploring Melbourne—so many diverse layers to discover, if only you take the time to uncover them.
It’s a fitting analogy for someone who grew up in Singapore and has travelled to cities around the world since she was a toddler.
“My dad worked abroad, and we would travel to see him,” she said. “I was raised to be a child of the world and to see the world as my oyster.”
She proudly recalls travelling alone to China when she was 12 to study Chinese for a month (she speaks that and Cantonese fluently).
When she was 16, Izzie found a way to fund her thirst for travel by leveraging her writing skills.
“I would go all around Singapore listening to bands and write reviews for an online entertainment magazine,” a role she said helped spearhead the local music writing scene there.
It was that experience and a solo trip to see Art Basel in Hong Kong that helped her realise the importance of arts and culture in her life, something which drew her to attend university in Melbourne.
“The first thing I fell in love with was the graffiti because you don’t have that in Singapore!” she laughed. After getting a degree in advertising from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Izzie returned to Singapore for work and noticed a big contrast from Melbourne.
“Why isn’t anyone using a reusable cup? Why are we generating so much disposable waste?”
That experience inspired her to return to Melbourne where she settled in Southbank and got to work earning a Masters in Environment and Sustainability, a two-year endeavour that she accomplished during COVID lockdowns.
Izzie was one of several millennials who attended Southbank3006’s last community forum where Victoria Department of Transport (DoT) presented its final design for the City Rd/Power St upgrade. I asked what brought her there, to which she replied, “I care about this neighbourhood and people need to be vocal about what happens here.”
She said she also cared about how the public was engaged when it came to infrastructure projects.
“I work on the communications and engagement team of an engineering consultancy that’s involved with Victoria’s Big Build. People have rights, they want to be heard and engagement helps inform final designs. Once a project reaches final design and tendering there’s not a lot we can change.”
Since the DoT has already settled its final design for the City Rd/Power St upgrade, Izzie is focused on what’s ahead. She predicts that closing a lane of traffic on City Rd will have larger impacts, increasing traffic on the smaller side roads around the intersection, something that has not been considered or addressed.
Then there is the issue of the construction project itself.
“I live near Power St and noise from that work is going to impact me,” she said. “What channels are set up for people to be heard during the project? Who are people going to be able to call about construction noise at night? Are noise-cancelling headphones going to be provided to residents here?”
MaryKay Rauma is a founder of Southbank3006 a not-for-profit community and advocacy group focused on connecting residents and improving the liveability of Southbank. Southbank residents are encouraged to join for free at southbank3006.com •