Serge’s Column – August

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Hello All,

This column is about St Kilda issues … we are all very busy at the moment and I certainly need your input into what we do.

Let me first welcome two visitors to our city from Suai, Covalima in Timor-Leste: Eugenio da Souza and Marcelina (known as Alita) da Conciecao.

As I mentioned last month, the City of Port Phillip has a friendship arrangement with Suai – the first local government to have done so back in 2000. Eugenio is the Chairperson of the Community Centre (CCC) in Covalima. The Covalima Community Centre provides a key resource in community development and local skills training in the district of Covalima.

Alita is the Co-ordinator of the Rural Women’s Development Program at the CCC. Both came to talk at a conference on the topic of “Working together for the next 10 years in Timor-Leste” and spoke very well about their program and the work many wonderful volunteers from our City do in their district.

Council is moving to the next stage on the St Kilda Triangle. We adopted a vision in 2012 and are now inviting people to put their names forward for various working groups to help refine our parameters for the Triangle. There are five groups and I encourage registering your interest. These groups will cover: statutory considerations, commercial uses and tenants, programing and activity, precinct planning, including Jacka Boulevard and the Catani Slopes and site constraints, including contamination and the Palais Theatre.

Please nominate at I am really looking forward to these meetings which will conclude with an “Enquiry by Design” workshop.

It is a little frustrating for me that things take a little longer, but even though it is a small site, it is very significant and I am pleased that there is strong interest at all levels of government.

You might have noticed the fences around the Palais. Securing the long term future of the Palais Theatre is a priority for the City of Port Phillip. We are having initial discussions with the State Government (the owner of the building) to secure funding for much needed maintenance work.

I am also pleased to let you all know that we have already made the decision to run the St Kilda Festival next year in a similar way to this year, with the addition of plans for affordably priced ticketing at the main stage on Festival Sunday. This could involve a combination of premium ticketed space and free access.

Most of the Festival will still be free! It is exciting that Council has decided to go ahead so early in the process which allows us to seriously look at various options to reduce the cost to ratepayers of the City of Port Phillip. I have not given up hope on finding a major sponsor to deliver great outcomes for our community. And I am pleased to announce that the Vineyard has agreed to pay the registration fee for all bands that have a member living, working or studying in the City of Port Phillip!

As discussed previously, the final plans for the Stokehouse have been approved by Council and we are waiting for the Minister of Planning to approve them. The new building is a little higher than the previous one but I believe that as the design is more transparent, with a gap between the ground and the first floor, this will compensate for any extra height. The leaseholders are hoping to open the new Stokehouse in September / October 2015.

Council has also renewed its agreement with the Linden Gallery and I strongly support their new strategic goals to engage more with the local community. Feel free to drop by and tell them what you think!

Council is also seeking feedback for the streetscape improvements in Fitzroy Street. Go online and take part in our survey or come to one of the onsite consultation sessions. We need to make Fitzroy Street more vibrant and, with Council’s support, the Fitzroy Street Business Association has engaged the help of Renew Australia – they were very successful in re-energising Newcastle. The idea is to activate empty shops or activate more shops during the day. Once again, your input is more than welcome!

I also encourage you to support Theatre Works’s fundraising campaign, “Build the Bridge”, to provide more opportunities for local theatre companies. I attend many of the Theatre Works productions and I congratulate all involved, especially Daniel Clarke, for their passion and commitment to our art community.

There is certainly a lot happening in our village … and we are in winter!

Take care!



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