A Message from the Deputy Mayor

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Deputy Mayor Serge Thomann

“Being French born, I feel that I have got to talk and give my own point of view of what has happened in France in the past few weeks. I have got to admit that this has been disturbing but hopefully, out of evil, good will come out. For me personally, the compassion shown to me by my Australian friends and St Kilda neighbours has been extraordinary. Many people felt for me as a French person and for the French people, and I would like to publicly thank you all for your kind thoughts and sympathy in these dark hours of French history.”

This is the way I started my column in February this year and I am very sad that once again, evil has hit hard in Paris with the cold blooded murders of over 130 people.

Yes, once again, blood has been flowing in the streets of Paris and innocent lives have been taken. Imagine going to see a footy game at the MCG, a band at the Forum or having a meal out on a Friday night and being killed or injured by terrorists. This is exactly what happened in Paris. I did not think that this would happen again when I wrote my column back in January in the #JESUISCHARLIE aftermath.

And once again, the Australian people have shown their support and friendship to the French. Both our countries are linked by wars and history, by democracy and freedom. As a French-born Australian citizen, I am proud to be living here, surrounded by wonderful people, and devoting most of my time – hopefully – to the betterment of the people of our beautiful City. Thank you to all. It touches my heart. And also my thoughts are with the French Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Christophe Lecourtier, for his wisdom in these challenging times. I thought his performance on Q & A was excellent. It helps us to understand the issues a little better.

The meeting at Federation Square of about 5000 people was once again a very moving occasion. It is quite rare that the French and the Australian anthems are played at the same time and this time, both songs touched me even more. And what a difference between both anthems! While the French Marseillaise talks about bloody flags, battles, weapons, slit throats, and more, Advance Australia Fair talks about golden soils, nature’s gifts, girt by sea, beauty rich and rare… does this help understand our two nations better?

2015 has been a big year. I am pleased with the progress on the St Kilda Triangle project. A core part of the draft masterplan involves locating a cultural facility on the site. An option for this could be the proposed NGV Contemporary Gallery.

The draft masterplan is now available for public comment until the 29 January and I am looking forward to your feedback, after several months of working groups, forums, workshops and more.

There is a huge amount of activity underway in St Kilda – the new lifesaving club, the Stokehouse, the Palais and the Acland Street and Fitzroy Street streetscape projects.

I encourage all those interested in the Acland Street project to seek accurate information on our website. Councillors are doing our best to support our community and make our villages more vibrant.

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Councillors for electing me as Deputy Mayor for the third time. I have learnt a lot from being on Council for seven years. I think we all have learnt to care more, listen more, love more. We live in a wonderful part of the world and people expect us to keep it that way and make it even better. Another thing I have learnt, which I was never really good at, is to be patient – patience is probably one of the biggest virtues to have in the role of a Councillor..

As the holiday season is about to start, I wish you all a happy time and a Merry Christmas for those who celebrate Christmas. I wish you a very happy St Kilda summer, and for our visitors, who happen to read our local paper, I welcome you all with open arms. We love that so many come and visit us at this time of the year and enjoy our small world. We know that you will treat our neighbourhood with as much pride as we do.

Happy New Year to all and see you around the traps … in our gardens and parks, our beaches, our open air cinema, at our live music gigs and in our cafes and bars.

 

Cr Serge Thomann is Deputy Mayor of the City of Port Phillip

 

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