Port Phillip Council’s tale of twos

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By Dick Gross

Here are a couple of tales of Port Phillip Council that demonstrate why the Council is not making good decisions. These are the Tale of Two Burnt Buildings and the Tale of Two Sham Infrastructure Proposals.

St Kilda Pier Kiosk

St Kilda Pier Kiosk


Two precious buildings on the St Kilda foreshore have burnt down in recent years. In 2003, the iconic St Kilda Pier Kiosk burnt down and a decade later, the same thing happened to an equally iconic building, the Stokehouse. One was replaced with a fantastic solution. The other’s replacement is a debacle.

When the Kiosk fell to the hands of an arsonist in 2003, the Council immediately reflected the community desire and built a replica. The result is much loved and appreciated. Replicas are controversial and not always appropriate. But the Kiosk was and is loved because of its history and because of the way it frames to view of the Bay beyond the St Kilda Pier. You can’t avoid seeing it if you gaze out to sea and the safest bet was to recreate it.

The replacement of the burnt Stokehouse is, however, a disaster. This is a very sensitive site as it must minimize the blockage of views from both the Foreshore and the Upper Esplanade. Several of us, including Cr Anita Horvath, railed against the new building as too big, too bulky and too massive. We were ignored by the Councillors and the destruction of view is there for all of us to see. The Stoke decision was rushed and without any serious study. It is a disaster blighting the views forever. It shows a Port Phillip Council that has not protected the public realm.

2013 design competition for Flinders St Station

2013 design competition for Flinders St Station


Who remembers the design competition for Flinders St Station in 2013? It caused a hullabaloo at the time.

The competition cost the former Liberal State Government millions but there was no budget for it! So of course, any idea without a budget is quickly consigned to history and the money spent developing the idea utterly wasted. The whole process was an expensive sham. So too with the St Kilda Triangle. The current design of the Triangle was not the subject of a design competition but a wildly expensive sham process costing ratepayers millions. The final outcome will cost over $350 million and there is no budget for it! This too cost you millions for no conceivable return. As well it is the highest, ugliest proposal for that site.

We learn from the Tale of Two Infrastructure Shams that governments who promote unfunded ideas are using your money to pull your leg.

We should remember both the Tale of Two Burnt Buildings and the Tale of Two Shams in October when the election for the Port Phillip Council is run.

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