Council Election Interviews: Vanessa Huxley

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Vanessa Huxley lives in East St Kilda in Carlisle Ward. She is standing for that ward in the upcoming elections. To find out more about her, Daniel Wilson of St Kilda News met her at a café near her workplace.


Q: What is your position on the 2012 St Kilda Triangle Vision framework?

I really like it. I think it reflects a lot of consultation with the community, which is really important, particularly for that project. What is there at the moment is very much a vision, it needs to be developed, and I hope to be elected to Council to be a part of developing it and seeing it through to something that everyone is going to be able to enjoy.

I know it has been an ongoing project, but I think it is such a beautiful part of St Kilda – I think it is important to take the time and make sure everyone is happy with it. The framework where it is now reflects a lot of community input and a lot of thought. I think it is going to be a really beautiful development.


Q: What is your position on the Skate Park to be built on the Marina Reserve?

I think it is a great project. I think they are a great way to engage with the younger community. My understanding of that development is there are going to be barbeques and a playground, so it will be a great place for the whole family to spend a day out.

Anything that promotes being outdoors and having an active, healthy lifestyle is really beneficial.


Q: Will you support St Kilda’s live music scene?

It is one of the main reasons I moved here. And it one of the reasons I chose to stand for Council as well.

It is really important to support young artists, young musicians. UnChain helped to establish the Live Music Working Group. That is something I would really like to be involved in if I am elected.

To give young people the opportunity to promote their music, promote their bands, and have access to mentors and musicians that can give them knowledge about the industry and help them grow and develop.

St Kilda has a great entertainment and arts aspect to it, and it is important that Council does what it can to help encourage and grow that.


Q: Would you like to see a supervised-injecting room in St Kilda?

My personal opinion, I would if it is in the best interest of the community. It is not really a council decision. And any decision about its need or location would require further research. It is not something I have been exposed to, so I don’t know if this is something that needs to happen, but I do know research needs to be done in respect to the effects on the community, both positive and negative, ensuring the location is safe and so forth.

Overall, improving the safety and security of the community is the most important thing, and if a supervised injecting room does that then I would support it.


Q: What is your position on high-rise developments in St Kilda, and in particular St Kilda Junction?

I believe that developments should happen but at the appropriate place. I support the document that the current Council adopted, C62, that divides the city into zones showing low, moderate and high growth. VCAT keeps approving inappropriate developments in St Kilda Junction and unChain’s policy is to work on stricter planning controls put in place for this area.


Q: What is your position on the Fishermans Bend Planning and Economic Development Strategy?

Fishermans Bend is a high priority for the current Government and I believe that high density can be achieved there. An independent Council will be able to achieve more as the Government will have more trust in the Council and will allow the Council to express its views without bipartisan agenda. I support the Montague vision of the Council and hope the Planning Minister will take it into consideration in his plan for the area.


Q: What is your position on the St Kilda Harbour redevelopment?

I support the redevelopment, particularly the reconstruction of the St Kilda Pier and the enhanced protection for the little Penguin colony. The redevelopment will make the harbor accessible and safe for everyone. The State Government is responsible for the pier and I know they have contributed $1.2m, but to adequately refurbish the pier is a $20 – $30 million project and I hope this can be found in next year’s budget.


Q: Is there anything else you want to bring to our readers attention?

I think it is really important to have younger people represented on Council. One key thing I particularly want to focus on is to implement digital communication and IT services. Digital communication – to reach a wider audience, a younger demographic, but also a less mobile demographic. And that offers opportunities of digital communities and for Council to engage with the community online as well as in person. IT services – to help businesses in the Port Phillip area to increase their access and speed to information. This could also take on the form of working with smaller businesses that don’t have an online presence and educating them on how they can utilise those IT services. It is really a very broad area. There is a lot one can do within that. With the Live Music Working Group that could mean setting up an online forum for up and coming artists, or new bands, and connecting them with information. Throughout a lot of the policies, I can see ways of implementing digital communication, and in some instances it is already happening, and in other instances it could be developed further.

Other issues I am focused on are, particular to the Carlisle Ward, the infrastructure around the Carlisle Street Activity Centre and also the Balaclava Station redevelopment. There is a lot more that could be done to make it more liveable, more accessible – there are a lot of young families living in the area, and elderly residents too, so making the Carlisle Street area safe and accessible to people is really important.

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