The Replacement for Brookes Jetty

Our aim is to get a replacement for Brookes Jetty, that Parks Victoria have just demolished without consultation. This will take at best two or three years because it will have to go through the government’s budget cycle.

We have to get both the state government and the Council involved.

Council has asked Parks Vic to draw up plans for a replacement jetty. We expect Parks to thumb its nose at this request as their position is that there will be no replacement. So unChain Inc will write to the Minister for Port, Luke Donnellan, asking him to request Parks to draw up plans for a replacement (with copies of the letter to the Premier, the Council and our local member Martin Foley). I expect that Serge will try to get the Council to do something similar and it would be great if the local branches of the ALP and the Greens would do also. Our local member, Martin Foley, will be a key person in this lobbying.

Martin Foley has not been active in the campaign to save the old jetty. I assume this is because he did not want to spend his political capital on a cause he saw as lost. But the project to get a replacement jetty is a completely different matter. Martin has a good track record of working through the internal machinations of the Labor Party and the government to get funding for this electorate – for example millions for saving the Palais and for the Elwood College Masterplan. In both cases there were specific proposals that he was able to champion and get funded. I think we have to take the same approach – to persuade Parks Vic to develop a specific proposal for the replacement of Brooks jetty. I am not very creative but I imagine this would involve at least three things – a wider jetty to comply with disability access regulations, a low platform to allow kids safely to jump into the sea and a better rubbish collector for the storm water drain (Melbourne Water’s responsibility. Cleverer people than me may come up with more interesting ideas. Council and Martin Foley could then lobby for funding to implement this.

If we are not successful in persuading the stage government to draw up plans for the replacement jetty, then we should lobby Council to develop its own plan. This may involve funding community consultation and an expert to produce a Concept Plan (budget $20K?). Again Council and Martin Foley could then lobby for public and private funding to implement this Council plan.

One of the reasons that Council must be proactive in achieving a replacement jetty is its legal responsibility under the St Kilda Foreshore Urban Design Framework. Councillors and the CEO were getting incorrect advice from their officers about what is in the UDF. This has now been corrected.

The St Kilda Foreshore UDF is incorporated into the Port Phillip Planning Scheme.  It has statutory force. Many government agencies, in addition to the City of Port Phillip, have a role in managing the foreshore. But the UDF specifies that the ‘Council will act as the strategic agent and champion for achieving the desired Framework outcomes … a whole-of-government approach (is) essential’. So Council cannot do a Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of the Brookes jetty issue saying that Parks is the sole decision-maker.

The UDF says that the Brooks Jetty should be refurbished or replaced. Proposal P5.4 (at page 36) is the relevant provision. It says ‘Investigate the removal of Brookes Jetty and its replacement with a more appropriate recreational structure’. The UDF does not envisage the demolition of the jetty with a replacement ‘recreational structure’ at some other location like St Kilda pier (which seems to be what officers were originally advising Council). The Council responsibility under the UDF is to champion the replacement structure that the UDF envisages.

Of course Parks will say they have no money to build a replacement jetty, even if the Council and the community come up with a wonderful Concept Plan. But the UDF says that ‘A number of existing State government programs may be appropriate to fund implementation works such as … major refurbishment of … Brookes Jetty areas’ (at p. 53).

The UDF gives the example of the Department of Infrastructure’s Pride of Place Program to fund some projects in the Foreshore UDF.  Furthermore the UDF envisages that private funding may be available for some projects. For Brookes jetty an obvious source would be the owners of the proposed hotel behind the Palais (and Luna Park?) – the hotel would be much more attractive if their patrons were looking at and strolling along a wonderful jetty rather than a short ugly storm water drain. Possibly the owners would be prepared to make a non-trivial financial contribution to an attractive replacement jetty. A more interesting possibility arises if our campaign to get the new NGV gallery for its modern art collection at the St Kilda Triangle is successful. The NGV may be interested in a creative design for the replacement jetty, which would only be a small part of their total budget for the Triangle project.

So I suggest we should lobby Council to take a three-fold approach

  1. That in the short term Council asks Melbourne Water for a plan to make the storm water outlet less ugly.
  2. That the Council undertakes to to develop a Master Plan for a replacement jetty if Parks Victoria refuses to do so.  In doing this Council should involve the community, state government agencies (like Melbourne Water, Heritage Victoria and Parks Victoria) and Martin Foley, our local member.
  3. That Council actively explores public and private sources of funding for the Master Plan for a replacement jetty.

I am absolutely confident that we will be successful in getting a wonderful replacement for Brookes Jetty.

Peter Holland
October 2015