By Andrew Herington

The hearings have now moved into the second of three phases.  For the next ten days, we will be hearing from the Councils and their expert witnesses putting the detailed case against the East West Link.

This will be followed by two days of presentations from the EPA and local politicians before the community finally get their chance from the unpropitious date of 1 April.

The Council’s cases actually started on Friday when Melbourne City Council’s first witnesses appeared.   Traffic modeller, Eric Keys handled a hostile cross examination well as he presented the case against building the Part B viaduct through Flemington and Kensington.

He presented an overview of the history of the proposals for an East West connection and highlighted a range of alternative alignments that created a better road network and connectivity without the need for a second freeway along the Moonee Ponds creek. He showed maps for a range of other alignments that did not surface in Royal Park and which create a better spacing between freeways

In the Eddington Report, the proposed route was direct to Dynon and followed what is now known as the Southern Alignment that the LMA rejected in one paragraph in the CIS. He also highlighted how the planned route of the West Link didn’t align with the end of Part B. A more northerly route above Dynon Rd may make more sense.

Later road engineer Jim Higgs was grilled about the various options he developed for the Council for the design of the western portal to reduce the impacts on Royal Park. The Council was not trying to show it had a perfect solution, rather that there are approaches with less impact that were not considered in the CIS.

Under section 69 of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act the LMA can be asked to prepare a Supplementary CIS if the Committee determines that there are prudent and feasible options that have not been sufficiently considered.

At the end of the day, the third of the MCC witnesses was noise expert Tim Beresford who explained the complex issues about how noise standards work. The Council sought to demonstrate different noise levels, but various objections were made by the LMA. The Committee conferred and decided on an outdoors demonstration at a date to be fixed at a site where open space and houses were adjacent to an existing freeway – possibly Glenferrie Rd near the Monash Freeway.

The witnesses who will be heard in Week Three are currently scheduled in the current order:

Monday 17th

Catherine Bull  (Open Space), Mardie Townsend (Human value of open space), Craig Czarny (property impacts in west Parkville)

Tuesday 18th    

Rob McGauran (Urban design), Rob Moore (Urban design), Graham Porteous (Recreation), Ian Shears (Water, vegetation and biodiversity)

Wednesday 19th

Christina Dyson (Cultural Heritage), John Henshall (Economics and urban development)

The order is subject to change and the three Councils are trying to coordinate about their witnesses, as some experts have done reports for more than one Council.

An interesting feature is that Counsel Assisting, Chris Wren QC, acts for the Committee and cross examines these witnesses just as actively as he cross examined the LMA witnesses to tease out the truth between the conflicting claims.

This week will also see the first of the individual presenters – people who for various reasons couldn’t present in Weeks 5 or 6. The first half dozen will be presenting an interesting range of perspectives about particular issues which will start to set out how wide ranging the impact of this proposal is and how many unresolved problems remain.

Surprisingly,  attendances have not been flagging as the Hearings go on. In fact there are now quite a few “regulars” who are finding the process fascinating.

The daily blog will continue throughout the hearings. A new page has been established (see here) for community contributions and debate about the evidence presented. Send your contributions to

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  1. FelineCyclist March 19, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    In terms of the public demonstration, I strongly encourage the Committee to take a stroll down the Moonee Ponds Creek shared path between Mt Alexander Road and Ormond Road. The change in noise levels as the sound barriers change is amazing. The worst is just near Ormond Road where the sound barriers disappear – the noise is terrible!

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