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 Could a giant, illuminated fountain be the ticket to ‘saving’ Docklands?

Docklands News recently reportedon a proposal to build a 'giant fountain and flame show'. According to the report the fountain and flame show would attract more than five million people to Docklands annually and generate at least $230 million for Victoria's economy every year. The plan, being touted by the FCT Flames and Avant-Garde de Studio, has the support of the Docklands Chamber of Commerce, which says it would put Docklands on the map for visitors.

Choreographed to music, the fountain would be programmed to music during the day and flames, pyrotechnics, video projection and lasers may also be added at night for an even more dramatic show, and may be programmed to match particular themes or special events.

But with all this talk of wiz-bang circus tricks to save Docklands, it’s difficult to forget the giant illuminated wheel circling in the background. Before its highly public mechanical setbacks, the Melbourne Star was believed to be the silver bullet needed to entice hordes of tourists into Harbour Town. However the reality has been somewhat different.

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For years the criticisms facing Docklands have been far greater than its emptiness. Before the City of Melbourne became the custodians, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle noted that Docklands needed better connections to the city, a place to kick a football, and somewhere for a casual beer (read more here). In 2012 the City of Melbourne released a Community and Place Plan which looks at how to capture the essence of Melbourne in Docklands. The plan emphasises everyday activities for residents and the creation of comfortable and active public spaces.

While a giant water fountain may look great on a postcard, it’s difficult to see how it will contribute towards the more nuanced neighbourhood-creation goals for Docklands.

What do you think? Can a fountain really save Docklands?

You can read more about the proposal here and see the City of Melbourne’s plan for Docklands here


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