Now’s the time to speak up

Now’s the time to speak up
Rhonda Dredge

A cover over the barbecue area at Powlett Reserve is high on the wish list generated so far by the City of Melbourne’s consultation with East Melbourne residents.

But many feel that the suburb can’t be improved and want it to stay a haven.

Other ideas such as more shops are not popular, as was the recent move to mark in bicycle lanes.

“If you wanted more shops, you wouldn’t buy a house in East Melbourne,” a resident of Grey St told Inner City News. “There are plenty of shops across the road in Richmond.”

The City of Melbourne has at least got residents thinking about their suburb with its Participate Melbourne consultations.

Previously residents were being urged to share their thoughts on the website, but the council won over a few when an officer entered their turf on August 20.

“On Saturday morning she was at the George St café. There was free coffee, and she gave us the opportunity to talk,” said Susan Henderson, a resident of Grey St for 27 years. “It worked well. That’s where we go.”

“This is the first time I’ve seen them actually reaching out to us instead of ticking the consultation box.”

Ms Henderson lives opposite the Powlett Reserve and although any change is contentious in East Melbourne, she’s in favour of a covered barbecue area.

“There’s nowhere to go under cover. It would certainly add to the area,” she said.

“Young families use the barbecues all the time. They’re next to the playground.”

Other items on the wish list are exercise equipment and a traders’ association but some in East Melbourne see them as inconclusive because the surveys don’t include a representative sample.

Many feel they need to protect the heritage of the area from change rather than introduce it.

“It’s a nice area,” a resident of Simpson St told Inner City News. “I like that it’s really quiet and quaint. It’s a little oasis. We’ve got awesome shops. To me it’s enough.”

“People don’t want change, they want to keep it the way it is.”

The next meeting will be at the Yarra Dog Park on September 2 and residents are urged to share their thoughts on the website by September 4. •

 

Caption: The Powlett Reserve barbecue area after rain.

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