Thursday, 5 July 2012

From “O.G” to “The G Word”

St Kilda is known for its’ "diverse culture". But what exactly does this mean? Walking around St Kilda the disparities between the rich and the poor are becoming more and more evident. We have the Gatwick, where the poor and desperate find themselves. And Mary Street, where the rich (either inherited or self earned) have decided to reside. It is pretty obvious who fiscally has the power to "control" this region. However, do we really want to become one of "those" municipalities?

One of the great things about St K is that the area offers a multitude of services to those in need, from housing to alcohol and other drugs, to mental health. And these services are key services for people in need. As developers take over and build expensive buildings, with expensive rent, those who need these services CAN NOT afford to live in this area. Therefore, the likelihood of said individuals arriving safely to such services (in the off chance that they either scrounge enough money to pay for public transport, or they manage to escape a fine for train/tram evasion) is needless to say, slim to none. As an individual who works with these sectors, I know firsthand the necessity of these services. In fact, they are priceless. So what does it say about our society when we do not take care of those in need? I say, it’s disgusting.

I have had a love affair with Melbourne for a very long time. She is my deepest, greatest, love; Moody, ever changing, and full of surprises. I did at one point consider moving to Sydney, yet the disparity between the rich and the poor is ever present in Sydney's heart, and this disparity is not for me. Yet, I live in St Kilda, and my loathing for Sydney's morals and judgment is becoming apparent in my area, in my St Kilda. I do not want to see the suburb that I love and live in become another example, when Melbournian's refer to that dirty word of gentrification. Don't we move to St Kilda to soak up the culture? To not be able to walk the street without seeing a lady on a corner trying to earn some money, or an individual with a drug habit dragging their feet as they try to source their next hit, and the buskers and beggars asking for some change, the look of desperation and sadness in their eyes, to not see this, under the beautiful background of the beach and the city and the gardens, doesn't this make you sad? Where will "these" people go?  What will happen to these people, when the developers are pleased (yet never entirely satisfied), and the rich get richer by both the ability and being "able" to purchase the nice home of their dreams, close to the city and the water, yet too close to misery and loneliness than what they hoped their exorbitant mortgage would purchase. What will happen is the poor will become further entrenched in poverty, rendering them unable to see a light out, find a way forward, and subsequently the divide between the rich and the poor will continue to expand.

Let's be honest here, St Kilda is rapidly becoming a model of gentrification, (one of the dirtiest of all the words in the English language). In a suburb that is becoming extremely, and disgustingly, gentrified, I'm required to ask, if the upper echelon of fiscal society wish to reside in St K, why do they need to push the "others" out? Is it really all about upping the financial worth of their beautiful heritage houses? And again, I'm required to ask (as I do so often in life) can't we all just get along? If these fiscally savvy individuals would be more comfortable without the disadvantaged within society in view point each day, why don't these people buy in Middle Park, Elwood or the Docklands? And in regards to the Docklands (such a prime example of a cultureless region),  I suppose, all that us peasants can do is just hope and pray that the developers and the rich do not get their wish, and let the beauty of St Kilda die, and become the Docklands (or worse!).

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