Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Urban wildlife

Just for a little light relief ...

draft Port Melbourne Urban Design Framework - the Promenade

The draft Port Melbourne Urban Design Framework is the only possible topic for this evening. Many, many people came to talk with councillors and staff about the draft UDF. In addition to concerns about 1 - 11 Waterfront Place, issues about the Promenade were once again emphatically made. Even though you are probably quite familiar with the area, these photographs illustrate some of the highs and lows of the Promenade. It is a fantastic place to view the cruise ships. However, the steps present a great problem for people with prams, wheelchairs or walkers. At present, the only accessible path is the bike path. Conflict between cyclists and pedestrians is the result. The Beacon Cove towers exit directly onto the bike path creating further conflict points. Council is soon to assume responsibility for the remaining assets at Beacon Cove when I hope these matters can be resolved. While it appears straightforward at first glance, it isn't. The planter beds on the path are part of the structure of the supporting revetement and can't be moved. The cycle path is narrower than current expectations for shared paths. Also there is limited width between the property boundary and the water's edge to add any space.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Team 3207 has got Port Melbourne's beaches covered

This Sunday 4 March is Clean Up Australia Day. 3207 Beach Patrol is tackling all Port Melbourne's beaches from Pickles St right through to Webb Dock. They have divided up the beach into zones - each with a coordinator. Meet at 9 - finish by 10.30 for coffee at the Beacon Cove foodstore [now Sputino] - an important part of the routine. byo whatever helps you to keep safe and comfortable on the job such as tongs, hat, gloves and a sturdy [preferably not plastic] bag. Tongs make picking up cigarette butts more bearable. This is all of our opportunity to give Port Melbourne's beaches the once over. For people who ask 'why should I do pick up litter?' just think of the plastic that will not be ingested by fish through your efforts. 3207 Beach Patrol is made up of friendly Port Melbourne people who care about the place. Visit to find the zone that is best for you. If you can't make it, perhaps you could clean the kerb and channel outside your house.

Monday, February 27, 2012

'Greening for Growth'

Port Melbourne businesses were strongly represented on a panel discussion on sustainability in business at the refurbished Port Town Hall this evening. David Downie [centre] spoke about Kosdown's ongoing and continuing sustainable approaches. Kosdown was the first printer to go directly from computer to plate - eliminating the need for processes based on chemicals and water. They have made significant changes in water, energy and waste - are accredited through the Forestry Stewardship Council and are going for the highest level of certification in waste management. David is exceptionally open to innovation and to change where it makes sense from a business point of view. Also in Rouse St, Josh Littman [right], from Daisy Drycleaning spoke about their wet drycleaning process that eliminates the need for solvents that are not well tolerated by people with asthma. Dr Elisabeth Fenwick from Current Consulting based in Fishermens Bend outlined how her business had gone about introducing a wide range of sustainabilty measures. All speakers stressed the dollar savings they had achieved through reducing their energy and water use and better managing waste. Council supports a range of programs to support business. Go to

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Emergency markers

Following the terrible accident near Lagoon Pier on Friday evening, it is worth becoming familiar with these emergency site identification marks. On land, it is easier to give a street address but important moments can be lost for emergency services at beach side locations. This is the marker at the end of Princes Pier.

All before 10 o'clock 2

Rode on to Sandridge Beach to watch the Great Bay swimmers set off on the 3.2 km from Sandridge to Williamstown. And there I met Father Bob who had come down to bless the swimmers. He was pleased to be back among people - his element. Swimmers appreciated his blessings and they in turn wished him well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

All before 10 o'clock

Joined many others in watching the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth from Princes Pier this morning around 8 am - a great vantage point. One person was taking pictures as the ship came in, then going home to get changed before boarding the ship at noon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House rocks

The hot day did not deter the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House from putting on a great Community Carnival today. In fact, I think it encouraged people to stay around longer in the cool of the House. Several people said how much they liked the size of it - 'not too big' - and the way the space was arranged to encourage interaction. There was always some shade to retreat to. Easy going music throughout the hot afternoon made a good atmosphere. People put a lot of work and flair into Port Melbourne and sun smart themed t shirts. The Neighbourhood House truly fulfils its role as a gathering place for all comers in Port Melbourne. There has been some discussion about setting up neighbourhood 'cool' places for extreme hot days. Today showed how such places could potentially work.


I learned this evening of a severe accident in water just east of Lagoon Pier involving a jetski and a swimmer. Ambulance and police were at the scene. The incident occurred around 6.45 pm. Updated Saturday 9.30 pm: This article in the Herald Sun gives more background. Water Police investigators are asking people who may have witnessed the incident to contact them through crimestoppers. Updated Sunday 4.30 pm: So sad to know that this man from our community has died. Deep sympathy to his family and friends.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rouse St trees

The long suffering wind buffeted trees in Rouse St have received some long awaited tlc. The compacted granitic sand has been broken up and replaced with some nutrient containing soil. The trees have been underplanted with lomandras in beds like those on the other side of Rouse St. The soil mix will allow better water penetration. Six dead trees will be replaced. This brings Rouse St [east] up to a comparable standard to Rouse St [west].

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Erratic blog posting behaviour

Dear Port Focus readers: It has been an exceptionally busy few weeks - each day full with meetings. Last night's council meeting only finished at 11.15 pm. It is an unusual quiet experience riding home along the bike path at that time. I am hoping to resume my daily posting routine from now on. Janet

Focus on the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House

This part of Liardet St will be closed to traffic but wide open to community on Saturday for the Port Melbourne Community Carnival. A highlight each year is the art workshop in the hall. Last year bags were printed, and this year it is a sun smart T shirt. Meanwhile there was a great feature on Stacey Hanley who runs Kitchen Survival Skills at the House in this week's Melbourne Weekly. There is always good food at the Carnival and Dig In - a programme of the Neighbourhood House - sell jams and preserves as well as the traditional sausage sizzle. Saturday 12 to 4 in Liardet St

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crossing complete

3.30 and Port Primary children are making their way home across the newly completed raised crossing at Clark St leading into Graham St. The crossing clearly gives priority to pedestrians, and reinforces that drivers are moving from a low speed, residential environment onto a major arterial road. The yellow crossing adds to the flashing 40 signs, the raised crossings at Poolman St, and the 40 km zone around the school to create a slower speed environment round the school. Today I met with local residents and Peter Martin, the school principal, to talk about further safety initiatives in Walter St. Peter pointed out that older children can and do make their way to school independently, but prep children - the largest enrolment - are more likely to be driven.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The London

People will be relieved to know that The London is recruiting. Apartment apprehensions unfounded.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out and about

We - councillors that is - will be at Gasworks Farmers Market tomorrow if you would like to speak to us after or before you've done your shopping.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

130 Bay St

On Tuesday 21 February, Council will meet to decide on an application to demolish the existing single storey building and to construct a four storey building containing basement and ground level parking, a shop, five dwellings and a communal roof deck. The full report including the officer recommendation can be accessed here. You can see the original building behind the Spanish Mission facade.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It hasn't taken long for the grass in the parks to brown off and for that lush green to disappear. I like these snakey irrigation lines in the Railway Reserves.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Draft Port Melbourne Waterfront UDF 2: Waterfront Place

Today - with two cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania at Station Pier - was a good opportunity to observe Waterfront Place. The logistics of moving several thousand people in and out of the precinct efficiently is managed impressively by the Port of Melbourne Corporation but the ripples still spread outwards into the wider Port Melbourne. These pictures show some of the features of Waterfront Place that are discussed in the UDF. The UDF wonders whether this space could be configured differently to give a better experience.The median between the carparks is wide but not very useable - could the space be better used on either side? A long and pretty uninteresting walk between tram stop and Station Pier - bounded by the TT Lines carpark chain mesh fence
Poor presentation of restaurants to visitors and Waterfront Place. Relatively narrow, ungenerous footpaths alongside the restaurants.

Council meeting at South Melbourne Town Hall 14 February 2012

The J L Murphy Reserve Masterplan will be presented to Council on Tuesday with a recommendation that it be adopted, and confirming that the Hobson's Bay Obedience Dog Club will be provided with a facility in the Garden City Reserve. Key features of the plan are the creation of a wetland to store water for irrigating sporting grounds, more opportunities for exercise for people who do not play organised sports, and the creation of a new soccer pitch [towards Williamstown Rd]. To access the reports, click here. Already, the soccer club cannot accommodate everybody who would like to play. With the Port population and participation in soccer increasing, a new pitch is badly needed. From my point of view, Murphy's Reserve is the most run down of all Port Phillip's parks, and seriously needs investment. Works already undertaken based on the Masterplan, such as the perimeter path and the extension to Dig In community garden, are already bringing more people into the Reserve.
Update: The J L Murphy Reserve Masterplan was adopted with a strengthened recommendation about calming traffic in Williamstown Road through working with VicRoads on introducing angle parking on the Reserve side of the road. Submittors highlighted the central importance of securing water for the Reserve. A number of people also addressed Council about the draft Port Melbourne UDF.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Draft Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework

Council is consulting on the draft Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework [UDF] until 9 March. For me, the key section of the document relates to how Waterfront Place - the area between Station Pier and the Foodstore - can be improved. This area gives rise to persistent complaints about traffic congestion, poor presentation to visitors, and dominance of cars. The UDF contemplates a more sociable and attractive future for this place. The UDF is detailed, so I thought that over coming days I would reproduce bite size pieces for your consideration and feedback.
'Waterfront Place Future Directions Statement: This precinct will evolve as one of Melbourne's most visited 'town squares' by the Bay. The Waterfront Place precinct aims to:
* Function as a celebratory place that welcomes visitors from the broader community
* Ensure that the Waterfront Place open spaces become the focus of the precinct
* Demonstrate and promote architectural excellence in all new development and throughout the the public realm, which includes ecologically responsive design
* Provide a variety of high quality open spaces that link together and form a continuous network of public realm places
* Provide public access to Station Pier where and when security arrangements allow' [page ref 44]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The flickering lights have gone and the music has stopped

Violet and Mervyn are no longer in a position to keep running their South Melbourne Market stall. Here is a brief story of this remarkable couple: "Violet was born in Bright in the 1930s. An avid and successful sportswoman, her love of sport was cut short in the 1950s by a lung condition which led to years of therapy and medication. She was on kidney dialysis for 40+ years. Mervyn, born in the 1920s, was the trumpet player in a jazz band on the Yarra River Ferry Boats. Trained as a barber, he became a cinema projectionist and graphic artist with retailers such as Coles and Safeway as well as CBD threatres. Violet and Mervyn came to the Market in 1984 selling vinyl records and craft embossed picture frames [They were retro before retro] and later new records, cassetes, CDs, DVDS, selected books and pictures all centred around 1930s, 40s and 50s jazz and blues music, classic Hollywood movies and music scores. They have been much loved by family, friends and customers. For over 40 years, Violet and Mervyn have shared a passion for photography, music, the cinema, the golden days of Hollywood and nostalgic fashion. Violet recently fell and was hospitalised and that, combined with other ailments, has led to the joint decision to call it a day. Wishing Violet a speedy recovery and time with their children and grandchildren. [reproduced with permission from South Melbourne Market News]

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Growers competition this Saturday

corner Pickles & Richardson St at 11 am on Saturday 11 February. You don't have to have grown anything to come along - you can taste test tomatoes, nominate the most monstrous vegetable and more. I didn't grow this splendid turban pumpkin, but somone in my family did [does that count?] It was grown from Diggers heirloom seeds north of the river. Maybe a bit of north-south rivalry will add energy to the competition. Find out how to be involved here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Councillors in Port

Councillors will be in Bay St - outside Coles - on Saturday morning between 9 and 12. If Saturday doesn't suit you, the other dates and times are here. Have a closer look when you're in Bay St at the details of copper, green tiles and glass which seem to stand out while the premises formerly occupied by the Tall Ship cafe are prepared for a new tenant.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Heavy weather

It's exactly a year since the heavy storms that caused localised flooding in Port Phillip. And of couse, 7 February is the anniversary of Black Saturday. Today's wild weather puts us in mind of these events. The City of Port Phillip is inviting people to become community weather watchers. Weather watchers would be asked to observe and record their own and their neighbours experiences of severe storms, floods and heatwaves to help Council to plan for and respond better to these events. We have also updated information on our website to help you plan for floods and heatwaves. Hopefully the scene in this photo is a thing of the past following extensive drainage works in Pier St.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Port in the news

In case you missed it: a beautiful interview on ABC radio with Teresa Matarazzo and Diana di Mattina who have brought a touch of Sicily to the Port Melbourne foreshore kiosk and improved [speaking for myself] my opera appreciation. Richelle Hunt from the ABC says: 'Sometimes you meet someone who makes you want to be a happier person' - that's quite something. And then a moving interview in the Melbourne Weekly Port Phillip with Dennis Fisher, Port Melbourne resident and Aboriginal poet, about his life journey. Dennis says: 'I call myself a no hoper. "No" for violence against women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. "Hoper" that we can one day all sit around a big fire and have a laugh, have a drink, have a cry, and move together as one.'

Friday, February 3, 2012

Holden and Fishermens Bend

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was in Port Melbourne yesterday - at Boeing in Fishermens Bend. The visit was poignant in more ways than one. She was trying to project confidence about jobs in light of recent announcements of job losses at both Holden and Toyota. Here is Prime Minister Ben Chifley in 1948 at GMH in Port Melbourne launching the first mass produced Australian car when the huge growth of the automotive industry lay ahead. Both the aircraft and the automotive industries are so strongly identified with Fishermens Bend and Port Melbourne. With amalgamation in 1994 these areas were given to the City of Melbourne and perhaps we lost some of our identification with them. Toyota, whose head office is in Bertie St, has said there will be no job losses at their head office in Port Melbourne. I hope their outstanding community programmes are not vulnerable.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Appreciating the play space in Garden City Reserve

'At the Dragon Park, I can see .../ olives falling from the trees/ children playing with their friends, and/a spider waiting to catch a fly.' [opening verse of a child's poem exhibited at the Port Community Day] The space works well for gatherings of all kinds. It also offers an imaginative space for play that is well integrated with natural elements, as shown here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One door closes and another one opens

Many people regret Readings closing. I'm wondering what it says about Port Melbourne. I think I'm right in saying this isn't the second, but the third bookshop not to have made it in Port Melbourne. Meanwhile, in today's Age it is reported that the South Pacific Health Club is the new tenant of the former Morley's coal depot. People tell me how much they value Bay St as the heart of the Port Melbourne community. I think to keep it that way we seriously need to shop locally.