It seems the construction of an Apple concept store right at the heart of Melbourne's cultural hotspots will not go as smoothly as planned.
According to a report from The Age, an online petition directed to the Andrews government was launched, calling for the cancellation of the construction. The petition has already collected at least 16,000 signatures from residents since Monday morning.
Moreover, three different associations comprised of planners, architects, and landscape designers also wrote Planning Minister Richard Wynne regarding the construction. The three groups called out an alleged lack of transparency in regard to the approval of the construction of the Apple flagship store, the report added.
"Our Christmases have come all at once – Apple have decided to build their global flagship store right here in Melbourne at the famous Fed Square," said Tourism Minister John Eren last Wednesday. The report also noted that details on the financial deal between Apple and the Andrews government are not yet released, though it was clarified that the local residents of Victoria will not be shouldering any amount for the construction of the new building.
Last week, The Guardian reported that the imminent construction has started to draw strong criticisms from Melbourne residents. The locals stressed that the Federation Square should only be home to public events and cultural institutions. Locals have been vocal on Twitter, expressing their resistance to the plan.
Furthermore, Melbourne Greens state MP Ellen Sandell also shared the public's sentiments. "Victorians will rightly be asking themselves why this Labor Government continually lets our public space be taken over by corporations and private developers," said Sandell in an interview with ABC. "We don't know what deals or incentives were done here," Sandell added.
On the other hand, Fed Square lead architect Prof. Donald Bates defended the construction, saying that the community will enjoy numerous benefits once the Apple store is erected. "Apple Federation Square respects and expands on the original vision for the site, with more public space, extensive landscaping and better access to the river allowing more people to enjoy this renowned civic, cultural and commercial hub," Bates explained.