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Change should only be accepted if it is also progress.
by Stephen Digby - Saturday, 16 February 2008, 04:00 AM
 
Thanks for your comments.
 
I was also born and raised in Camberwell, but bow to your length of experience.
I remember reading Blainey's History of Camberwell and getting a feeling for the immense changes that have already occurred over the relatively short period since foundation of Melbourne.   At each stage there were opinions for and against change - and for and against every variant of change.
 
I, personally, am not against progress.  The argument is all about whether proposed changes contain any elements of progress.
 
For instance, the early drafts of the junction plans proposed by council included the conversion of the Camberwell car park currently used by Rotary for the Sunday Market into an underground car park. Many community members at the meeting considered that this change was not progress. It has been removed from prominence in the drafts but the idea still has support from the council planners and developers.
 
Similarly, consider a similar proposal to improve traffic flow on Through Rd by widening Beryl St, extending it through the Hartwell Sportsground to connect with Welfare Parade and thus justify expansion of Alamein Station car parking and station use.  Residents of Beryl St. may not consider this change an improvement.  Residents of surrounding streets (such as Yeovil) may not care, but surely they would not consider Beryl Street or Hartwell Sportsground users to be pests if they wanted convincing that this change was indeed progress.
 
To believe that all change is progress, in this or any other instance, is simply to abdicate any responsibility to community or to self.
 
To simply move away from a person or place when you believe that changes are not for the benefit of the community may be serene acceptance - or it may be a lack of care - or even a lack of courage to speak up.
 
I am sure that you have spoken up many times in your life for the things that you believed were right and opposed the things that you thought were wrong.
 
There is not one type of person in BRAG (or any other community group) but rather a diversity of opinion.
 
The proposals for Camberwell station were to replace it with a monolith that would lower the quality of life for a large majority of people within 1 km of it.  Many may not consider Camberwell Station to be worth saving.  But very many would prefer that it was replaced or developed with something that the community agreed on as progress.  There have been many constructive suggestions from BRAG as to what progress looks like (including detailed architect plans).  Unfortunately, the land owner (VicTrack) and its boss (the Labor Government) have no regard for local community views.
 
I have made substantial donations to the Royal Children's Hospital, but on local issues, I will still try to be a pest to anyone that proposes change without merit.
 
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Stephen Digby, BRAG WebSite