India set for review

A review into the future of Dandenong’s battling Little India is to go ahead despite some councillors saying it is none of the council’s business.
Opponents say the area is part of state government developer Places Victoria’s vision and that anything the council does risks being undone in the future.
“The future of the area is not really in council’s hands,” councillor John Kelly, who voted against the review, told a council meeting on Monday last week.
He suggested the struggling traders should be “proactive” and join the Dandenong Retail Traders’ Association.
“There are other retailers within Dandenong, Noble Park, Springvale, that would love the attention.
“I’m concerned this council will spend a lot of money to promote this area and in a few years’ time it
will be bulldozed or something else.”
But councillor Matthew Kirwan, who proposed the review, later told the Journal that “Dandenong is our business”.
“We should look after what we can control – branding, promotion, community events, retail strategy and advocate to Places Victoria what we want for Little India for the aspects under their control.
“As for spending money, the purpose of a review is to see what actions could be done and what the cost/benefit analysis of those actions are.
“Let’s get the information into the hands of councillors and the community and then we can make the best decisions.”
Cr Kirwan said the future streetscape could incorporate Little India by having shops on the ground floor of new apartment and office buildings.
“Redevelopment of Foster Street, realistically, is probably years away so now is an opportunity to revitalise this unique asset and make sure it benefits from the new people that will be attracted into the city centre when the new library and civic starts operating in March.”

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