The First Quarter 2022
On Saturday the 1st January the maximum temperature was 37.1 degrees. COVID testing processing services had wound down over the Christmas break. Cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID were going up rapidly. Rapid Antigen Tests were hard to find. Queues for PCR testing backed up on Johnson St. A new COVID testing centre was set up in the carpark off Munro St.
Each year at the Easter break, I take a wander around Fishermans Bend. Although the precinct names are barely used, they create the structure for the planning framework for Fishermans Bend.
Normanby Road is in a category all of its own. In most marketing, Normanby Rd situates itself as part of Southbank, rather than Fishermans Bend.
The towers on either side of Normanby Road, Oakwood and Normanby, have been completed. Oakwood shimmers with reflected light in the evening. A new link has been created from Munro St (opposite the COVID testing centre) to Normanby Rd at the base of Oakwood. The link features a new waterwall artwork along its length representing the Yarra River by Sydney artist Mika Utzon Popov.
In this first quarter, R Iconic has emerged, foregrounding Oakwood and the Normanby from the Port Melbourne perspective. R Iconic is being built by Hickory and makes use of the Hickory Building System – a structural system that integrates the core, shear walls, bathrooms and facade of a building into a unified structure which is built off-site and in parallel with on-site works.
On 24 February, Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ferrars St is coming to life. The Wayside Inn, Virid Vertical Gardens, 444 Ferrars and the Relief Unit and the South Melbourne Primary School activate the street.
The Golden Fleece which closed down in 2020 has re-opened. The new owners, Isaac Constantine and Zachary Riggs, have re-imagined this 1872 pub on a Santorini theme with a Mediterranean menu. On a warm summer afternoon you could almost believe it. Almost.
The Port Melbourne Secondary College opened under the leadership of Principal Anne Stout with a cohort of Year 7 students. Basketball practice opens up the school to the wider community.
The site on the corner of Williamstown Rd and Todd Rd has been cleared in preparation for construction of ID Land’s Port Lane, three bedroom town houses.
The heritage listed Rootes factory on Salmon St deteriorates even further.
Barak, Beacon, The Boulevard estate
Discussions continue about the future of this estate.
On 23rd March, 1 – 7 Waterfront Place returned to VCAT following the City of Port Phillip’s decision to refuse the application on the basis of overshadowing of the foreshore. The Tribunal members will weigh up the arguments put by proponents and objectors on that critical phrase in the planning scheme: Development should minimise overshadowing beyond the southern kerb line of Waterfront Place between the hours of 9:00am and 3:00pm at the June solstice and the extent to which the proposal meets that requirement.
The new owner of 103 Beach St, Luxcon, has proposed an amendment to the approved permit for the former Beacon Cove Foodstore to add another level making 5 levels, to increase the number of units from 12 to 22, as well as increase the amount of basement carparking. The council has yet to make a call on whether the amendments should be approved.
The Spirit of Tasmania’s departure comes closer with the move to Corio anticipated in the spring. The Spirit spruiks the advantages of the new location and terminal. Many will mourn the daily arrival and departure of the Spirit while others will be glad of fewer exhaust emissions and less heavy traffic on Graham St. The future use of the TT Lines car parking area is not yet clear.
The London development at 92 Beach St was completed and the apartments occupied. The three levels on the corner are for sale via a national expression of interest process, the anticipated price – $9m. This is little consolation to those still smarting over the loss of the London Hotel.
Lime and Neuron e-scooters were neatly deployed at sites around Port on 1 February. A flurry of controversy soon followed about their use and misuse. It is probably too early to say whether they are playing a useful role in Melbourne’s mobility.
On 28 February, heavy rain caused disastrous flooding in northern New South Wales, Lismore in particular.
Port of Melbourne
The Port of Melbourne started work on removing a section of concrete pier at Webb Dock east so that two ships can berth alongside.
COVID in Victoria
On 31 March, there were 11,292 cases new cases of COVID-19 reported and 59,589 active cases. 94.3% of the population had double vaccination, and 65.6% had triple vaccination.
Hardly a household or workplace was untouched by COVID, and it was rare for anyone to have avoided seven days in ‘iso’.
At the end of March, the COVID testing centre at Munro St, set up in January, was being dismantled. Easing of remaining COVID restrictions was flagged.
Worker shortages were felt in every industry. For the first time in decades, population in inner Melbourne decreased, while the regional cities closer to Melbourne grew.
What’s missing from this report? Let me know.
To see how things unfolded, read