End of summer… and thinking of the next one!

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By Councillor Serge Thomann

 

What an exciting month, I wish sometimes I was much fitter. How could I not be in admiration of the wonderful people who take part every year in the Ironman competition – 3.8 km swim, 180 km cycling and a marathon – all up 226 km with a majestic finish in the Catani Gardens between the palm trees? Congratulations again to local resident and St Kilda Lifesaving Club member Simon Lewis for having the courage to become an Ironman for the first time this year. You make us proud.

And thinking of next summer, how can I not be excited by the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup, sponsored by the City of Port Phillip, coming to St Kilda in December. About 1200 of the best sailors in the world will be getting ready for the Rio Olympics in our front yard, from Port Melbourne to Elwood in Port Phillip Bay, with their entourage and many spectators!

John Bertrand (pictured with event’s organiser, Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist Mark Turnbull) is the Events Ambassador. He told me how much he loves St Kilda and the huge potential of this event to promote St Kilda and sailing in general. It will be a great way to show our village and bay to the world – and will also be a great boost to our local economy.

I hope you will come to our foreshore to watch and encourage our sailors, including many juniors such as Victorian champion Linus Talacko. Well done also to St Kilda Tourism and Events (the new name of the St Kilda Tourism Association) which supported this major event from the beginning. This is what a tourism association is here for!

I remember the tour of St Kilda I gave to the heads of ISAF, with terrible weather conditions – rain, hail, and wind – topped off by being stuck in a lift to avoid the rain!  There is a never a dull moment in our village and I think we are lucky to be here.

But my job is not all fun and sports. I am very involved in our current Acland Street consultation about how we can take the opportunity to improve our streetscape by undertaking improvements at the same time as Yarra Trams upgrades the tram terminus in Acland Street.

Many people have engaged with us to say what they think we should be doing. We all agree that Acland Street needs a makeover and I urge you to be part of our discussions. We are about to start some streetscape work in Fitzroy Street in winter this year, and hopefully this will be the start of the revitalisation of this important boulevard.

This month also sees the return of our great St Kilda Film Festival, a festival of short films. The opening night is at the Palais on Thursday 21 May and the festival closes on Saturday 30 May.

The big change this year is the Film Festival will be held at the St Kilda Town Hall as the Astor Theatre is undergoing a small refurbishment and will reopen in early June.

Come and see our great selection of local and international films, including films shown as part of our arrangement with the Palm Springs Film Festival. I am proud that for the first time there will be short films from Timor, presented in association with the Friends of Suai. A few unseen gems there!

Talking about the Astor, I am thrilled that it is going to stay open and that Palace Cinemas will run its program, with few changes. The Astor is unique and should stay like that for the community to continue to love it.

On a more serious note, our City’s draft budget will be out on 5 May and you are more than welcome to give us your input. Times are tough as demands keep getting bigger and bigger. I hope we have been able to address most concerns that I received over the past few months. I am told that the new fitness station at the Peanut Farm is a big hit for locals!

Until next month and see you all at the Film Festival!

Cr Serge Thomann

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