I have the following proposals, assuming finance is not a problem. I will add new suggestions to the list with time.
- Although Altona is a bayside suburb and has a long coastline, it is lacking restaurants that offer a fine dining experience with a vista of the sea. The bistro at Altona Sports Club is the only restaurant that offers limited views of the shoreline.
2. Redevelopment of Altona Pier
- The Altona Pier can be redeveloped and its terminus expanded into a restaurant, similiar to the Little Blue Restaurant at St Kilda Pier. Binoculars can be sited at strategic locations to provide views of the Altona coast, Williamstown, Melbourne CBD, Dandenong Mountain Ranges and Point Cook Coastal Park.
3. Tree Top House at Logan Reserve
- There are many gigiantic trees in Logan Reserve. It will be a very novel idea if a tree-top house can be built on top of one of them. This can serve as a Visitor Information Centre as well as providing an Observation Deck.
4. Observation Tower north of Cherry Lake
- The walk/bike trail crosses a stream in the north-west part where the stream joins Cherry Lake to a much smaller reservoir of water. A little further east, you can find a soil path, created by walkers and bikers, uphill a mound north of Cherry Lake. At the summit of this mound, you can take in a bird’s-eyed, panoramic view of Cherry Lake. However, this mound is not high enough for this view to be at its best angle.
- My suggestion is to concrete this human-created path with staircases and ramps and build an Observation Tower having different storeys, on top of the mound, which will enable visitors to view not only Cherry Lake, but what is beyond, up to the sea.
5. Environment Research Institute, affiliated to a University and funded by both the Federal and State Government. Altona is an ideal choice for this Institute for the following reasons:
- It is one of the most vulnerable areas, besides others along Port Phillip Bay, to sea level rise due to climate change.
- It is richly endowed with abundant environmental resources, parks and reserves and a large biodiversity of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered species, such as the Altona Skipper Butterfly and the Orange-Bellied Parrot.
- It represents a good case study of the competitive demands between residential and industrial needs, and a harmonious, co-existing relationship between the two.
- It has an Environment Resouce Centre at the Altona Library.
- There are already ongoing nature conservation projects by nature-friendly societies and schools in Altona. It will be good for the Insitute to engage in collaborative projects with students from local schools and western Melbourne to raise environmental awareness in the community.
- The Truganina Coastal Parklands is a successful example of ‘recycling’ of more than 300 hectares of parks and former industrial land and which now forms the largest cluster of parks on Port Phillip Bay, interlinked by cycling and walking trails and featuring a surprisingly high diversity and abundance of landscapes, natural environment and recreational areas.
- Altona can be made a model suburb for environmentally sustainable living through encouraging homes to reduce their carbon footprints by cutting down on wastage, recycling, installing water tanks and solar panels, using more public transport (Altona has 3 train stations) and growing backyard vegetable gardens.
6. Holiday Retreats
- The Hobsons Bay City Council and the Altona Village Traders Association can encourage homes along the Esplanade, near Pier Street, Cherry Lake and other sites of attractions to open up their homes as holiday villas, homestays or bed and breakfast facilities for tourists and overseas students.
7. Good Public Schools in Altona
- This ranks as the number one priority in my wishlist. Good, affordable public schools will definitely attract people to settle in Altona and it is very vital in grooming our future generation. to take Altona forwards. Hopefully, Altona will produce successful people and leaders such as our Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
8. Improved Public Transport
- The single track sections of Altona Loop should be duplicated to avoid bottlenecks in the Werribee Line.
- Whenever there are train cancellations or delays, the train operator will usually decide to bypass the Altona Loop, running the trains express from Newport to Laverton or vice-versa, presumably it figures that Altona has a lower passenger volume and it can reduce the impact of time delayed by running express. Altona passengers are sacrificed and made to pay double the price compared to other commuters along the Werribee Line for the train system inefficiencies.
- Often there are no announcement or sign on board the trains that indicate whether a particular Werribee train runs through Altona or not. Hence, Altona-bound passengers often discover that they have wrongly boarded an Express train when the train runs express from Newport to Laverton and by which time, it is too late for them to change trains at Newport.
9. Relocation of Industries
- With Melbourne’s projected booming population, prime industrial lands close to the City should make way for residential housing. It does not make sense to establish new residential estates in the outer fringe, remote from public transport, services and employment opportunities. This shifting of industries to outer areas had happened in many cities around the world so I do not think why this should not be possible in Melbourne. There should be government polices, such as the Emission Trading Scheme, with disincentives for polluting industries to be located near to the City and to residential areas.