Pam Dingle was planning to only stay for one year in the CBD. That was 15 years ago.
“I was going to move in for a year, sell the apartment and go back to Armadale,” she explained. “I’ve been here ever since.”
Like many long-term city residents, Pam doesn’t like everything that comes with central-city living, but the good things outweigh the bad.
“I do like it a lot … the convenience – for shopping, for work and for getting around,” she said.
Everything she needs is within walking distance – supermarkets, entertainment, work and, of course, the Queen Victoria Market.
“I can walk to both ends of the city from here,” she said. “So that makes me so much fitter than I would otherwise be.”
And she is a very fit 70-year-old too. Only since her recent birthday, has she scaled back to four days a week in her job as a residential property manager.
Longevity runs in her family. Many of her family has lived well into their 90s and her mum Hazel has only recently passed away at 100.
Not having children of her own and separating from her former husband 36 years ago, Pam has thrown herself into her professional work.
As a local property manager and active owners’ corporation committee member, she has become part of the CBD community. And, over many years, she has seen the community develop.
Like many other passionate CBD-dwellers, Pam cautions against over-development and is encouraged that local planning regulations are being reformed.
“But residential growth has been fantastic for the CBD,” she said. “We’ve seen many waves of people from different nations over the years.”
The latest significant influx, she said, was from mature age students moving in to complete their masters of business administration.
Her centrally-located apartment is shielded from the worst of the city’s sounds, so she has been able to maintain a peaceful environment.
And, while she has always felt safe in the city, she has noticed an increase in potentially dangerous people roaming the street of late.
She also says the CBD doesn’t need any more nightclubs.
Pam says CBD living is not for everyone, although, with the advent of Haileybury College opening a campus in King St, more families may be attracted.
One of the great things about the CBD, she said, was looking out the window and seeing thousands of people.
“I’m always seeing people I know as I am walking around the city,” she said.
Having grown up in country Victoria in a family that was acutely involved and connected with the local community, it’s no wonder she knows plenty of locals.
She says she will stay active in the workforce for as long as she is able to make a contribution.
“I believe I still have something to offer,” she said.