Sunday 31 December 2017

What Is Really Intended for QVM?

The variety of extreme opinions about the real intent of the City of Melbourne for QVM’s future is mirrored around the world as people mysteriously pick unlikely explanations for a variety of events.

The picture here shows a night event in Californian skies recently which understandably drew a lot of interest and caused Elon Musk to sarcastically tweet that it could be “a nuclear alien UFO from North Korea”. We can assume he was sick of irrational opinions dogging politics and technological innovations in recent times.

In fact the vision was of Musk’s Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch which was delivering 24 satellites into earth orbit. Of all the explanations for the night event that was the most likely but not nearly as exciting as the threat of aliens, nuclear warheads, or attack by North Korea.

Some 6 years ago the City of Melbourne declared that it was going to invest up to $250m in the Queen Victoria Market to ensure that it didn’t track the decline of many overseas markets. After years of taking income from the market it was decided that the market needed investment in basics like power, running water, and logistical support. Essentially it needed to be brought up to scratch so that it could be relevant to Melbourne’s landscape for another 140 years. The city even changed the status of the market to guarantee public use for perpetuity and launched a campaign for World Heritage listing. That was a perfectly reasonable and likely intent for a city that wanted to keep a traditional open air market as part of its city landscape.

But that likely explanation didn’t stop the sceptics from announcing that the City had other intentions. They wanted to “destroy” our market, “grab” its land for other purposes, “sanitise” its offer, and even “get rid of” all its traders. Despite the City’s extremely high credentials for City planning and activation, the sceptics questioned their intent.

Elon Musk tweeted on Christmas Eve - “So strange that people often believe things inversely proportionate to the evidence. Given a set of possible explanations, why pick the extremely unlikely one!?” It is curious that extreme explanations gather so much traction although much of it can be put down to those who believe that the only real news is whatever they want others to believe. It can pay to be sceptical but maybe it needs to be directed at the intent of the sceptics rather than, in the case of QVM, the more likely explanation, of protecting a city landmark.