‘I was waiting to cross Power Street and a huge double truck drove past full of cows, followed by a fuel tanker and cars driving at highway speeds. All of this metres away from people, children and pets,’ MaryKay explained.
‘I thought: “Why isn’t everyone upset about this?” It is not okay to have freeway speeds and large industrial trucks detouring through a high-density residential area.’
During months of COVID-19 lockdowns, MaryKay reflected on the challenges of living in a vertical village.
Eventually, a desire to foster a better sense of community and address Southbank issues brought about meeting like-minded residents David Hamilton, Trisha Avery and Jannine Pattison.
The quartet vowed to work together to make a difference to the residents of Southbank, inspiring MaryKay - a USA-born marketing and communications specialist - to design a logo, the first of many steps in launching Southbank3006, a not-for-profit residents association, in February 2022.
Since then, Southbank3006 has swiftly gained hundreds of members, with its ethos to be a collaborative, solutions and results-focused organisation.
The group’s primary objective is to bring people of Southbank together, providing real connections, and advocating on their behalf to government stakeholders for positive change.
‘We want respectful, results-driven dialogue with city and state leadership and to work collaboratively and creatively to solve the array of complex issues Southbank faces. Ultimately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Southbank3006 says there is much to be done, and is working with Council and State leaders to see tangible actions - such as low-traffic neighbourhoods, speed restrictions, and speed cameras - installed on the most dangerous roads in Southbank.
MaryKay says that she also sees the group’s role as being a ‘dream maker’ for residents to create the community connections they yearn for.
‘For someone who wants to set up a book group, for example, or assistance creating an event, you can come to us and we can connect you to thousands of Southbank residents. We can show you the ropes, publicise your event or introduce you to Ash, our Council neighbourhood partner,’ MaryKay said.
To facilitate community connections, Southbank3006 runs regular community forums on the last Sunday of each month.
The forums explore topics ranging from traffic issues, cycling and micro transport through to safety concerns, meet a Southbank neighbour or political candidate, and owners’ corporation information.
Southbank3006 recently asked residents how they want to connect as a community, with the answer surprising MaryKay in its simplicity.
‘People said they would like us to organise games nights where people congregate to play board games.’
In response, MaryKay is currently pursuing one of our Connected Neighbourhood small grants to fund monthly game nights.
Southbank3006 believes the two most important things the area needs right now are low traffic neighbourhoods and more open green and community space.
‘We need more community areas indoors and outdoors to be able to be together, exercise, mingle, meet or just play board games.’
The 2021 ABS Census revealed that Southbank has over 23,000 residents, nearly two-thirds of them born overseas with a median age of 31 years.
Nearly all residents (98 per cent) live in a flat or an apartment, and half of them speak a language other than English at home.
Keen to celebrate the residents’ cultural diversity, Southbank3006 recently received a City of Melbourne Christmas Collective grant and will host ‘Southbank – A Very Merry Friend-Mass’, a non-denominational cultural celebration in December to bring everyone together for the festive season.
MaryKay would love Southbank residents to get in touch and experience the many benefits of community connection.
‘Even though we are living in a vertical village, we can make it feel as cozy as any other neighbourhood,’ MaryKay said.