Friday, December 23, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 6 of 6

Sandridge house - my pick for best dressed Christmas house in Port

Wrapping up 2011: I was most pleased with the Sandridge Beach foreshore project. Sandridge residents had felt neglected for many years. The new lights, the pedestrian and cycle path, and landscaping provide the framework for ongoing improvement. Pathways at Perce White Reserve have been clarified, significant vegetation protected and the linkages to the Webb Dock path strengthened. I am also pleased with the Greening Port Phillip tree strategy. For the first time since I have been on Council, we have a clear and soundly based forward plan for tree planting with the aim of achieving an even tree cover across Port Phillip over time. Tracey Pahor, PhD student, was a constant Port companion throughout 2011 - actively present wherever people gather - investigating Port Melbourne: Should we call it a community? It has been great having her around. Thanks to all the community organisations and people who work formally and informally to make Port Melbourne such a good place to live. Wishing you well for Christmas and the New Year. I am taking a break from Port Focus and will resume with a summer posting schedule on Monday 9 January 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 5 of 6

Planning and development: 2011 was an intensive year for development in the area south of Graham St - known in planning speak as the Mixed Use Area. Projects named Armada, Waterside, Luur, 101 Bay St, Iconica and 86 Dow St are at various stages of construction. This has made life very difficult for residents in Nott and Dow Streets. Planning permits were approved for two further six level developments in Nott St between Rouse and Beach St. It is important to note that Port Melbourne has some of the strictest planning controls in Melbourne, being one of the few places where absolute, rather than preferred, maximum heights apply in an area designated for residential growth. To balance the more intense development in this area, the first stage of the Rouse St [west] project introduced more trees and landscaping into the street. All the streets south of Graham St are covered by a developer contribution and landscape plan which was also reviewed and updated this year. These plans commit Council and developers to allocate investment to ensure that over a period of time all those streets will be upgraded to create a better residential environment. North of Graham St, the heritage planning controls were reviewed this year to give them an even sounder basis for planning decision making at Council and at VCAT. Conversations took place througout the year about the Port Melbourne Waterfront with the draft Urban Design Framework released for public comment to the end of February.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 4 of 6

On for young and old: Two especially significant projects for our community reached critical decision points in 2011. A contract has been awarded for the construction of the Liardet St Family and Children's Centre which will provide 135 licensed childcare places. The former St Vincents Boys Home site has been made available to Claremont SouthPort Aged Care Ltd for the construction of a high care aged care facility. This will add 30 beds to the existing 60 currently at SouthPort Community Residential Home. The search for a site has been 'long and arduous' - since 2005 at least. Albert Park College opened to its first cohort of students in 2011 and has just completed an outstanding year under the leadership of Principal Steve Cook. Port Melbourne Primary has gone from being a shrinking school in the early 2000s to a school under signficant pressure from growth. The need for a new primary school is obvious.

Council notes 3: Liardet Street Family and Children's Centre gets the go ahead

This evening Council met and resolved to award a contract to Core Properties Pty Ltd 'to provide the construction of Liardet Street Family and Children's Centre and notes that the contract sum [excluding demolition] is $4,371,100 exclusive of GST together with an additional provisional allowance of $624,550 exclusive of GST for soil remediation'. For the full report click here or go to Council meetings and agendas on the right hand menu. The buildings on site are likely to be demolished in January. The exact date has yet to be determined.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 3 of 6

Sport and recreation: 2011 - the year the Borough won the flag! The year was also notable for the massive growth in junior sport. The Fishermens Bend Gymnastics Club maintains a waiting list, Port Melbourne Cricket Club now runs two junior programs and has 90 Milo kids. Junior soccer is going through the roof and the Port Melbourne Life Saving Club offers a full and flourishing Nippers programme. Recognising the multiple benefits of walking and riding, Council is supporting safer access to Port Melbourne Primary through a range of interventions around the school. Council's Playspace Strategy, adopted this year, responds to shrinking backyards and more children living in apartments, by planning for parks that provide for the experiences and activity that might once have happened at home - such as contact with nature. A perimeter track was put into Murphy's Reserve to encourage casual walkers/joggers who are not part of sporting clubs to use this amazing open space. Meanwhile, more exercise is pobably undertaken on the foreshore path than on any sporting field and provides a magnificent opportunity for exercising with a view.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 2 of 6

A wet year: It rained more often than in previous years. 804 mm of rain has been recorded to 20 December - the biggest annual figure since 1993. 105 mm fell overnight on February 4/5 which caused localised flooding. The rain has made our parks look lush and helped the many new street trees off to a good start. Rain also brought stormwater and associated litter onto our beaches. 3207 Beach Patrol consolidated this year with monthly group cleans over the summer. At the end of 2011, there is a greater presence in the landscape of measures to slow and cleanse stormwater as it makes its way out into Port Phillip Bay. Streetscape works, such as in Station St, now divert stormwater onto the large trees.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Port Focus review of 2011: 1 of 6

The work of others in Port: A highlight of 2011 has been the completion of the refurbishment of Princes Pier by Major Projects Victoria. The history of the Pier is well told. Every day more people are exploring the space and the fishermen have found it - history and fishing were the things most often mentioned that people wanted from the project. The 606 bus began a more frequent and seven day a week service between Port Melbourne and St Kilda - I think people still can't quite believe it after so many years of a scanty service. The Melbourne Main Sewer project dominated the life of Ross St residents this year. We can now be confident that we have a sewer we can rely on into the future as well as a legacy of new trees in Gill Reserve and near the Port Melbourne tennis club. Yarra Trams renewed the tram tracks in a mammoth operation and in double quick time at the start of the year. On reflection, I think 2011 was the year of the engineer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Long day

I know its a beautiful evening, but it was a beautiful morning too a long time ago this morning when I took this photo. I love that there is a view at the end of the north south streets in Port Melbourne. In discussions about the Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework, people often raised concerns about traffic movements around the Beach St/Waterfront Place area associated with cruise ship and TT Lines shipping. However, after giving the matter consideration, people generally agreed that the presence of shipping at Station Pier is what makes Port Melbourne Port Melbourne. Therefore, those traffic impacts need to be managed - rather than attempting to re-locate shipping [even if that were possible].

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Big Day - Council notes 2

  • Council was at VCAT today defending its refusal of the planning application for 77 Bay St. [the space between Bayshore and the heritage shops] The proposal is for an 8 level building of 24 dwellings

  • We heard today that the Heritage Council has decided not to include Lady Forster Kindergarten on the Victorian Heritage Register.

  • Lots and lots of children and their families were at North Port Oval for cricket on this beautiful evening. The Port Melbourne Cricket Club now has 2 junior teams and 90 Milo kids

  • The Murphy Reserve reference group convened for the last time before the Masterplan goes to Council for adoption early in 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Port Focus Party

Everyone has a Christmas end of year break up - so why not Port Focus readers? I invite you to join me at the park with no name at the junction of Raglan St & Esplanade East [pictured here] at 4 pm this Saturday 17 December. This is a bit of an experiment and I am not sure how many people might come. Some food will be provided but could you please bring a little something to share, a plate and a glass and a little bit of Port such as a photo, a business card, a menu, a plant, some litter. No single use plastic please.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Pier is open

People have puzzled about the purpose of this structure. It houses two touch screen photographic displays. A very strong theme from the community was that the story of the many facets of the life of the Pier needed to be told. The information is provided very close to the Pier entry to make it easier for passers by to access. Together with the information pillars distributed around the Pier, the story will continue to be told. I think the structure is also likely to be the subject of many a future photograph as it frames amazing views of Webb Dock.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Celebration in the Park

An enjoyable gathering of people, community groups and low key entertainment at Garden City Reserve for the celebration in and of the Park today. Congratulations to Port People who worked so hard to bring it about.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Olive's corner and the Social Justice Charter

It's raining - again. The rain is making every park look good and I thought that Olive's corner was looking especially fine when I passed. This small park and monument commemorate the life and work of Olive Zacharov. It is fitting to acknowledge Olive Zacharov on the day that the City of Port Phillip launched its Social Justice Charter because she was widely known and deeply respected for her work in this area. To read more about her life, work and the memorial, click here. Contrast today's picture with this image which shows the Bay/Liardet corner in 1999 - now PM's cafe and the gathering place for the Linking Neighbours group on a Wednesday morning. Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society suggest the image of the Bay/Liardet corner is more likely to have been taken in the late '70s or latest in the early '80s. Sounds right to me as I don't recall this corner looking that way when I arrived in Port in 1987. Teaches me not to be uncritical of sources.

Conditions at Port Melbourne beach tomorrow

The EPA advises that water quality will be poor at Port Melbourne beach tomorrow and swimming is not recommended.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Back in business

The long awaited replenishing of the Bay St IGA is in full swing as these empty pallets attest. I am sure I was not alone in keeping an eye on the bare cupboard that has been the IGA for several months now.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Council Meeting Monday 12 December: Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework

This important report will be presented to Council on Monday 12 December at South Melbourne Town Hall. The meeting starts at 6 pm. The report brings together themes and principles derived from the community consultation held throughout the year, and makes recommendations for each of the five precincts between Bay St and Beacon Rd*. The recommendation to Council is to release the draft UDF for public comment from Monday 12 December to the end of February 2012. More detailed community consultation will be held in late January and early February 2012 in recognition of the holiday period. The report and other agenda papers are available here, or from the Meetings and agendas link on the right hand side of Port Focus. It is also the last full Council meeting to be held on a Monday night - the practice as long as I've been on Council. Council meetings will be on Tuesdays beginning in 2012. *The five areas are the Bay/Beach St hub, Beach St between Bay and Princes St, the Promenade at Beacon Cove, Princes Pier and Waterfront Place - the whole area between the Station Pier entry back to Princes St.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fishermens Bend Gymnastics Club is outstanding

The FBGC held their end of year display over two nights this week. The Club is bursting at the seams of the hall and can't accommodate all the interest. FBGC was also the winner in the sporting clubs category of the Greenhouse Games, an initiative of Sustainability Victoria, and won $2,000! Organisations or groups sign up households for an eight week challenge to reduce energy and resource use. Here is dedicated and devoted coach Maya and gymnast with the award.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Princes Pier revealed

photos Ron Cassano

Yesterday the Minister for Major Projects, The Honourable Dr Denis Napthine, offered a preview of the re-furbished Princes Pier to invited guests. He said that the Pier will be open to the public next week. These photos give an excellent overview but on ground inspection reveals many more interesting details.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rachel Powning continues as mayor

This evening Councillor Rachel Powning was re-elected mayor of the City of Port Phillip. Councillor Frank o'Connor was elected the Deputy Mayor.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dig In Community Garden

'After some debate and much research, Dig In has become home to three very indulged chickens. They have attracted a lot of attention and have even managed to get their photo in Divercity. A small plot has been developed to grow their greens, although they are not fussy and will eat greens from anywhere!'* Dig In is a wonderful long arrangement of individually distinctive garden plots at Murphy's Reserve. With the support of other committed gardeners and chook guardians, Ann Rochford has ably guided the garden over many years - creating a community as flourishing as the garden. *Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House Annual Report

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Great Victorian Fish Count

Three fishing vessels [mere dots in this grey photo] near Port Melbourne Yacht Club caught my eye this morning - the fishing must have been good today. Between 3 and 18 December each year, Reefwatch conduct the Great Victorian Fish Count. 85% of the species found in Victoria's southern waters are found nowhere else in the world. The benefits of the count include species lists, suites of species, abundance of species and their distribution and range. You can see Victoria's extraordinary fish here on the Victorian National Parks Association website. There is probably noone who knows more about the fish in Port Phillip Bay than Dugga Beezley.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Celebration in the Park - Garden City Reserve

'There's something for absolutely everyone' - and for dogs - at this neighbourhood celebration on Sunday 11 December. There will be Trugo and Zumba, hip hop and history, and cricket and football for the kids. There will be garden walks, history walks and Father Christmas on a fire truck.

Garden City Reserve is the park between Beacon Cove and Garden City [between Beacon Rd & Swallow St and Tucker Ave]. From 1 to 4.30 on Sunday 11 December. Visit Port People's website for the very full programme.


Kosdown sold today for $3.55 million.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1st December - 1st official day of summer

Its been a wet start to the summer which affects water quality at our beaches from stormwater discharges. The EPA has improved its website and it is now quite easy to review the beach report to find out whether conditions are acceptable for swimming. Click here for the Beach Report and locate Sandridge and Port Melbourne. I will also put it on the links list. The No Butts No Cuts campaign will continue this year. Smoking and glass are not accepted on Port Phillip's beaches.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

606 - Port Melbourne to St Kilda

An upgraded 606 bus service begins on Monday 12 December with services every 40 minutes through the week. A weekend service will be introduced for the first time. Currently there are a total of 8 services a day - 4 in the morning, and 4 in the late afternoon. Since council amalgamations, better public transport connections between Port and St Kilda have been on the agenda to strengthen community connections across the city. *Here is the timetable with effect from 12 December 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not quite Port Melbourne, 3

It was a big night at Council last night. The Triangle: A shared Vision was adopted, the final design for the skatepark at Marina Reserve was approved so the project can go to tender, and submissions were received on the proposed Library and Heritage Centre at Emerald Hill. These three projects, previously approved, were reversed by the incoming council in late 2008/early 2009. I mention them here because the Council has directed much of its time, effort, energy and emphasis to revisiting these projects. All the council reports can be accessed here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Melbourne - isn't it?

I generally avoid more than one post a day, but since the weather is such a contrast to yesterday, I had to note it. Also wanted to show this picture of the tail end of a colourful wedding procession in Bridge St, outside Guernsey House.

A lot to like

I like the people you meet, the conversations you have, the bike parking and the plants at Bunnings. Most of all, I like what the money raised at the weekly sausage sizzles makes possible in our Port community. Today it was the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society but South Port Daylinks, Dig In and many other groups have hugely benefited from this generous opportunity. The Lions are a stalwart - often called upon if people drop out.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Growing raingardens

What else to do but get on to the computer on such a rainy day. Took a brief walk down Dow St to see how the raingardens are performing. The plants are beginning to grow well and the rain is draining away - no puddles there. Raingardens trap litter and filter stormwater so that it arrives in the Bay cleaner. 24 mm of rain since 9 am this morning.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Whatever has happened to the bowler?

Almost crashed the bike when riding along Spring St this morning to see that the Port Melbourne Bowling Club has been painted a grey/green colour. It will take me a while to get used to even though I know the Club is troubled by repeated graffiti attacks.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Beacon Cove residential areas

Today Amendment C73 to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme was gazetted. Planning control for the residential areas of Beacon Cove is now formally and finally in the hands of the City of Port Phillip. What this means in practice is that people will now apply to Council, rather than Mirvac, for planning approval if they wish to make changes to their houses. Planning applications will be assessed according to the comprehensive guidelines that support amendment C73. Council will be writing to property owners shortly advising them of the change. If you have the appetite for the technical planning information, it is available here. The commercial areas of Beacon Cove will be covered by the Port Melbourne Urban Design Framework, a draft of which will be considered by Council in December.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1,000 posts today

This is my 1,000th post to Port Focus. I have been puzzling about how I could make a picture for this post. Coming out of a planning consultation meeting this evening, I saw this shadow pattern from the bike hoops outside the Port Melbourne Library that anticipated my wish. I hope you find Port Focus interesting. Please let me know if there are topics you would like covered, questions you would like answered or to share something you know about Port that I don't.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Princes Pier close to opening

There is feverish work on Princes Pier to get it ready for opening in December.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Melbourne Water/John Holland's presence is shrinking as the vital main sewer replacement project comes towards a conclusion. The worksite at Gill Reserve has closed and the lawn area has been re-instated. This complements the avenue of trees that were planted in August by community members alongside staff from John Holland. Gill Reserve can no longer be considered to be a neglected part of the Railway Reserves.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Welcome to Beach St: Bella Cosi

Its taken me a while to follow up on the good reports of the new Bella Cosi at 71 Beach St, corner of Stokes St. Its a family affair - the Di Lisio family - Maria and her three sons. They want it to be a place where people feel comfortable to stay for a while. Bella Cosi draws on the talents and experience of the whole family: Marisa has run and intends to run cooking classes, the pastries are made in house and Vince is a seriously experienced barista. As Vince observed [on yesterday's 33 degree day], there are only so many sunny days in Port Melbourne so it needs to work in all weather. Bella Cosi provides long awaited life to this corner of Beach St.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Waterfront Place, Station Pier

A new electronic noticeboard has appeared at the entrance to Waterfront Place. Currently it is showing the cruise ship schedule. It is part of the plan to improve the operation of Waterfront Place in the short and longer term. Station Pier is managed by the Port of Melbourne Corporation.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beam me up Scotty

Life Saving's chopper lifts off from outside the Victorian Life Saving Headquarters this evening.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

South Melbourne Market Day - doing wonders with waste

Nine waste streams are recycled from the Market - cardboard [see the cardboard crusher], green waste, fish offal, meat and chicken offal, cooking oil, food before its use by date and commingled recycling. The Market's food stalls also provide food to Second Bite, a charity that diverts food from landfill to people who need it. This year, just under 10 tonnes of food was donated to Second Bite, producing 19,620 meals and saving 8.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reporting season - Annual General Meetings [AGMs]

That wonderful community organisation South Port Day Links held their AGM today. The fundamental work of SPDL is to enable people, regardless of their situation, to participate in community life through their programmes of community transport, Petlinks, Garden Mates and Walk Mates.
The gathering of members for the purposes of reporting, election, and recognition of contribution and achievement is an important part of the calendar of community organisations. I am so impressed by how professionally groups approach their reporting obligations and forward planning responsibilities. I would like to acknowledge committee of management members - their contribution in the governance role is under appreciated, in my opinion. If you haven't been on a committee before I encourage you to join as an ordinary member. If you've been on a committee for a long time, look out for new people to join. A balance between renewal and continuity works well. Our Port Melbourne community is a more interesting, inclusive and generous place through the work of these community organisations. Geoff Ellis, continuing chairperson of SPDL, is in awe of the contribution of SPDL volunteers, has made new friends and learned hugely along the way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Port Town Hall

The Port Town Hall is looking bright with freshly painted walls, polished floor, curtains and insulation. Let people you know that it is a good space for community events.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Foreshore plan open for your contribution

The traffic lights at Pickles/Beach St have been modified to alert drivers to give way to pedestrians. I think pedestrians also get a short head start on the green light. This action supports principle 8 of the plan whcih is to 'promote safe and attractive pedestrian linkages, cycle and disabled access between the foreshore, urban activity centres and public transport.' Click here to get to the plan.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome to Bay St: Kikki K

For the stationery obsessives out there. There are now two Scandinavian shops between Graham and Rouse St. All we need now is some Copenhagen cycle chic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The beach

after the roses, the spinifex

3207 Beach Patrol invite you to join them when they head out from the Port Melbourne Yacht Club at 9 am tomorrow to pick up litter along the beach. I love this time of year on the dunes when the spinifex flowers are out - the male flowers on the left and the female flowers on the right of this photo.

11 11 2011

Lest we forget

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kosdown committed to Port Melbourne

Sandra Downie from Kosdown says that 'If the sale goes through, we will be moving next year to Rocklea Drive, Port Melbourne which is kind of a printing industrial site. A few of our printing mates are there. We are very sad to leave the street but also excited about the move to bigger and more modern facilities.' Kosdown has supported many community organisations over the years - look for the distinctive K on the Neighbourhood House's Term 4 programme. Kosdown was the first printing company in Victoria to introduce water and chemical free plate making, and use only vegetable and soy inks - practices which save up to 150,000 litres of water per year. For this and other environmental initiatives, they won the CitiPower Port Phillip Business Award for Environmental Sustainability in 2008.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Work on Bridge St - west of the railway line

A central median will be painted onto the road - an example of this approach can be seen in Pickles St. Although only a visual barrier, the painted median is effective in separating and slowing traffic. Pedestrian refuges at Ross and Derham intersections will make it easier for pedestrians to cross Bridge St. Trees and landscaping are also part of the plan. And by the way - yesterday I met two of Derham's descendants at the gathering to mark the 125th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Church Hall at Holy Trinity in Bay St. Have a look when you pass to see the foundation stone laid by F T Derham, postmaster general at that time. He had also been a councillor and mayor in Sandridge and son in law and business partner of Thomas Swallow of Swallow and Ariell. He introduced the penny post to Victoria.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

For the record

Today the Government's Clean Energy Future legislation passed through the Senate.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Its all happening in Rouse St

The struggling trees in Rouse St have been freshly encircled with mulch. Since I follow the health of these trees with avid interest, I stopped to take a photo - only to see that Kosdown is for sale! The property is advertised with the most magnificent real estate board you've ever seen. I believe Kosdown will be going to Salmon St. The trees have also been treated recently for a destructive leaf eating insect. Lets hope they start picking up now.

National Recycling Week begins today

A few ideas for doing one thing differently this week. Avoid or refuse single use plastic such as drinking straws. The Council's Resource Recovery Centre [Whiteman St, off Normanby Rd] accepts paint, electronic waste, white goods, mattresses, plant pots, clothing and green waste. Find out how to print paper on both sides if you're not sure how. Participate in 3207 Beach Patrol's beach clean up on Saturday from 9 am - from the Port Melbourne Yacht Club, end Bay St. Check that there aren't any recyclable items going into your waste bin. Take home any plastic bottles you pass on your way round Port Melbourne and put them in your own recycling if there isn't a recycling bin handy. More ideas?

image Climate Action

Sunday, November 6, 2011

'A difficult and poor place'

This is how former Supreme Court Judge Frank Vincent described Port Melbourne in the early thirties when he was growing up here. He learnt 'what it is, and what it means to have to struggle'. In commemorating the life of Alan Whittaker, waterside worker shot by police in 1928, he pointed to the contemporary relevance of his story. Whenever a group of people is de-personalised and de-humanised as the waterside workers were at that time be alert to the abuse of power. 'This place, these people and this history' have deeply influenced his personal and professional life. I had to shut my eyes to imagine that past described as a luxury boat made its way into Waterfront Place.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

First food swap in Port Melbourne

Transition Towns Port Phillip hosted a food swap from locally grown produce at today's SkillsFest in Bridge St. Would you be interested if a fresh food swap like this happened more regularly? Transition Towns is a world wide network of people taking many local actions to support thriving, healthy and connected communties that are better able to respond to challenges like climate change and peak oil. These food swaps are going strong north of the river. You can contact TTPP at or find out more about what they do at

Friday, November 4, 2011

Balloons over Sandridge

The balloon appeared to arise from Webb Dock somewhere, and hovered above the Sandridge path before whooshing onwards.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No butts

I know there are mixed views about Halloween in Australia, and anyway I'm a few days late but ... Sea Angels is a community group in Florida who pick up litter - just like 3207 Beach Patrol - and sometimes get pretty creative with it. How about this Halloween contribution made up of found cigarette butts?