Frankston Community Coalition a vision for Frankston

The following email has come to us via the Frankston Environmental Friends Network (FEFN) of which the KCA is a member. The topic is not central to either the KCA or FEFN, but we are forwarding it to you in a spirit of co-operation towards other community groups in the Frankston/Seaford area. The main letter comes from the Frankston Community Coalition, which KCA was involved with prior to the state election. The KCA still has an involvement with the Frankston Community Coalition, although less active than before the state election. The Coalition is chaired by Christine Richards a former Mayor and Councillor, so the KCA is happy to vouch for the bona fides of the group.

The forwarding of this correspondence is in no way intended to influence your views on the subject or promote interest. It is purely informational.

Paul Davies

President

Kananook Creek Association

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Dear Frankston Friend

This mail is about the future of Frankston. Decisions being made in the coming weeks and months will determine the look, feel and image of our City Centre for the next thirty years. The Frankston Community Coalition is writing to ask you to voice your view about one of the most important of these decisions; the need to shift the buses out of Young Street. It will only take you a few minutes. In our opinion, it is the most critical issue facing Frankston this year.

As you are aware, the new Labor government has committed $63 million to transforming the Frankston station precinct and radically improve it as a transport hub. You’re attendance at the public forum on the train station last year helped secure this money during the election – it helped emphasise to the major parties how important this issue was to Frankston people. The way the money is spent will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community to fix one of the major problems holding back the progress of Frankston – the area around the train station.

You already know the problems – you live with them. The perception that the train station is unsafe undermines the image of Frankston and the confidence of people using the area. It is a disincentive to potential train travellers of all ages. Shoppers are also reticent to use the area. As a consequence, businesses struggle. Development across the Frankston City Centre has stalled, leaving blocks of derelict buildings and land. Transforming the land around the station is the vote of confidence that Frankston City Centre needs.

Thirty-nine years ago, a Victorian Liberal Minister for Transport’s announcement that a transit interchange would be built in Frankston. The Minister’s plan included much of what this community has been waiting for: a major upgrade of the existing train station and its surrounds; a multi deck car park providing 1,500 additional car parking spaces; a multi-level building development for additional commercial and retail space; and improved pedestrian and traffic connections in the surrounding streets. Nothing happened. Politicians from both major parties have regularly made announcements since then, but very little has changed.

However the tide may now be turning. There is a substantial amount of money now on the table. A task-force is presently meeting to fast-track a master plan for the train station precinct, and is being chaired by the newly elected member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke. The task-force plans to report to the Minister for Transport in August this year. Preparing its position, Frankston Council plans to meet within the next ten days on Monday 23 March 2015. At that meeting Councillors will vote on a range of issues including whether or not the buses should be shifted out of Young Street to a new transit interchange built on part of the carpark on the eastern side of the station.

To maximise transformation of the train station precinct, it is pivotal that the buses be moved out of Young Street. One of five main City Centre streets, Young Street runs parallel to the station. Presently it attracts bus users but repels the rest of the community. Stand in Young Street at any time and experience the sight, sound and smell of a constant procession of buses. Whilst many buses stop on the station side, there are also numerous bus stops on the business side of Young Street, where stationary buses – which keep their diesel engines idling – belch out fumes whilst they pick-up queues of passengers just outside shop doorways.

There are compelling arguments about why the buses need to move. In summary, the move will provide a range of opportunities to beautify and pedestrianise Young Street. There should be an opportunity for a green public place to be created on station land currently fenced-off to the public. This will in turn attract more visitors to the area and make the train station precinct feel safer.

Moving the buses out of Young Street will start the planning Frankston needs to properly prepare for its next thirty years. Frankston’s population is growing. More people will mean more buses. Yet Young Street is already too congested to cope with more. To equip Frankston for the coming decades, a new transit interchange is urgently needed. It will condense the space needed by buses, and provide under-cover pick-up points for bus commuters straight-off the train platforms. It cannot be built in Young Street. However, it can be built on the other side of the station (on part of the station car-park abutting Fletcher Road).

If you agree with the above, can I ask you to take two minutes of your time and go on to the Frankston Community Coalition Facebook page and sign the petition you can access there. It’s at:

https://www.facebook.com/FrankstonCommunityCoalition

It’s really quick to do. The Frankston Community Coalition will then make sure that both the Taskforce and Frankston Council are informed about your view. (Whilst the petition is easy to fill out, if you experience any difficulties getting in to the page, can I ask you to call back later in the day? Sometimes that site does not cope with heavy traffic.) And feel free to send this letter to your friends you may be interested in signing up too.

All the best

Jenny Hattingh

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