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  • rosscolliver

Good morning

Updated: Jun 20

Riddell residents will know that the State Government intends to push 5000 people into the Amess Road development. Nothing against the people but it’s stupid to moor them off at the edge of the town, living cheek by jowl, without pathways or cycleways to get around, and Riddell proper, the old Riddell, a town choked with traffic.  

This is bad for Riddell, for reasons you can find across as Save Riddells Creek faceboook page. I will register my discontent during the period for public comment, but I think it unlikely that what I say will register with a government that wants a quick political solution where someone else wears the downstream impact, in this case, us residents.

But here’s the thing – what town will we make with those new people?  We’re no longer a village.  When I arrived 13 years ago, that happy place was receding in the rearview mirror.  Ten years on from now, let’s say 2034, we will be 10,000+ people (5,000 now plus 5000, plus on-going infill, plus Riddell South).  What kind of town will we be? What kind of a town will we make? We either let the fates blow us towards suburban bland, or we make what we want.

I’d want us to be a friendly town. 

When I settled in Riddell, up Gap Road here beyond the letterboxes, I realized after a little while that I had to go to the post office to collect my mail.  So I presented myself at the counter, and asked, politely I thought: ‘Any mail for 288 Gap Road?’

Colin, then the postmaster of many years, didn’t move. He looked me in the eye and he said, quietly: ‘Good morning.’

I stood still, nailed to the floor. My mind raced.  This was not East Melbourne PO, where a brusque efficiency was the best one could hope for.  I was in the country.  I pulled myself together and must have stammered a passable response.  The mail was had, and I went on with my chores, but I had been taught a lesson. 

Colin had in mind more than a purely transactional relationship.  He didn’t want to be my best friend, but he expected a kind of civility.  He was letting me know that this was a place where people met each other as people and gave that time and space, alongside whatever business they had to transact. They took their time, and that was possible for them because they lived in the country.

Good morning.  Good day.

Friendliness starts with extending a greeting, and with taking the time to hear the answer.  Here we are, each with our lives to attend to, but our town becomes a country town when we pause and take the time to greet each other, and take each other in.

That’s the kind of town I want to live in.

Ross Colliver, Riddells Creek Landcare

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