Bayside - a place to stay

"I like to see Bayside as a place where people feel they never have to leave." With these words Graeme Disney, first Mayor of Bayside City Council, summed up the character and amenity of the City, which not surprisingly has been his home for his entire life.

Bayside is situated along 17 kilometres of Port Phillip Bay. Stretching from Brighton to Beaumaris, it boasts some of Melbourne's most spectacular coastline and beaches. Comprising the former Cities of Brighton and Sandringham, along with parts of Moorabbin and Mordialloc, Bayside offers a range of activities and lifestyles.

Just a short scenic drive from the Central Business District of Melbourne, it nonetheless contains a seaside ambience that has attracted families, artists, sailors and others to live and visit since the early days of European settlement. A high percentage of open space, parkland and remnant bushland contribute to a relaxed, rustic atmosphere. Four major golf courses, three major yacht clubs and a number of sailing clubs contribute to a leisurely image.

Well serviced by public transport, Bayside plays host to many Melburnians who come here for sailing, diving, golf and other recreational pursuits. Mayor Graeme Disney, born and bred in Sandringham, worked from a young age in his family newsagency. Three generations of his family currently live in Bayside, confirming his view that the City can accommodate changing needs throughout every stage of life.

As well as being a local retailer, Councillor Disney has been an active participant in community affairs, including a time as the Vice Commodore of the Sandringham Yacht Club. Over time in the newsagency, he collected thousands of photographs of the district, provided by customers. These he has used to write with local school teacher, Valerie Tarrant, a history of the Bayside district titled 'Bayside Reflections'.

In writing the book, he said he came to realise how many creative spirits have been drawn to the area, from the early days of settlement to the present day. The success of the new Municipality, he believes, lies not only in the economies of scale that have arisen from amalgamation but in the retaining of its unique characteristics.

From the heritage buildings and fine mansions and gardens of Brighton, to the affordable family housing of Sandringham, Hampton and Highett and the coastal teatree and pristine foreshore at Beaumaris, Bayside is a spectacular place.

"I love the ambience and village atmosphere of Bayside," Graeme Disney said. "People here have a sense of place which is unique to coastal areas."

"It is like a series of villages with shopping and civic precincts, such as Hampton Street and Church Street, each being a hub of activity. A trip down the street is a social event, a community meeting."

Demographically, Bayside has one of Victoria's most aged populations, and projections suggest this trend will continue. However, Council has noticed a rising demand for children's services.

"People come to live in Bayside, because it is close to the city, has a marvellous coastline, a feeling of community and an attractive natural and built environment," the Mayor said. Young families are attracted to the area because it has so much to offer.

"This City has a brilliant future," he said. "People can afford to stay in the area throughout their lives. This is not just a dream, it is happening now. The challenge for Council is to make sure we have the facilities to cope with the influx of young families, and ensure older people have what they need to remain here."