Submitters sing the praises of ROYAL PARK

By Andrew Herington.

Tuesday’s hearing was a solid day of group and individual submissions focusing on the proposed damage to Royal Park and on residences being acquired or left behind to live near the proposed East West Link.

This followed Monday’s presentation by Gordon Ley (read his presentation here – CLOSING QUOTES – Gordon Ley) summarising all of the expert evidence presented about Royal Park, its natural and recreational merits and its heritage values (which are currently being studied for formal registration by the Heritage Victoria). Ley highlighted the loss of open space and the absurd claim by the LMA that only one percent of the park will be affected by the tollway and its construction.

On Tuesday, Fiona Saint took a more personal approach with a passionate speech about the things she loves about the park: its diversity and the wide range of activities that it supports. She captured the essence of why people have such strong feelings about Royal Park and why there is so much community outrage that it could be singled out as a “disposable” piece of land available to be turned over to roads.

I then presented a detailed case for why there should be no interchange at Elliot Avenue – highlighting the conflict with Rod Eddington’s recommendation that any inner city access to a tunnel would be counterproductive. A further option for how to connect the east and west without impacting on the surface of Royal park was presented – called the Y option. You can compare all the suggested alternatives to the reference design at  http://betterewldesign.com/

Tuesday ended with a full house to hear the major presentation by Tom Pikusa, the barrister retained by Royal Park Protection Group and Protectors of Public Lands Victoria. He has been present throughout the hearings and the Chair acknowledged his contribution in representing community groups. Mr Pikusa tabled a 57 page legal submission, a set of maps and Urban Circus views and a large folder of relevant documents that have been previously tabled. His 90 minute address covered a wide range of issues.

Perhaps most tellingly, Pikusa took the Committee through various maps and illustrations that have featured during the hearings and highlighted the internal inconsistencies that they contained – what you see is not what you get.

Pikusa concluded with a series of legal arguments interpreting the legislative limits on the Committee, setting out the various reasons why the Committee should recommend the project not be approved and the LMA be sent back to do more work, based on the final selected design.

Several homeowners presenting on Tuesday highlighted the injustice of being just on the wrong side of the narrowly defined “proposed project boundary”. The committee has declined LMA’s invitation to make recommendations on individual cases and LMA has so far not responded to the request for a process for considering these matters.

Slater and Gordon has made a further submission on land acquisition and the issue is still actively debated. There should be flexibility to enable choices.  No-one should carry the burden of the tollway development by having their home devalued or their lives diminished by noise and air pollution.

Wednesday will host another 36 presentations including the only evening session. 

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One Comment on “Submitters sing the praises of ROYAL PARK”

  1. Geoff Hook April 9, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    We support the maitenance of Royal
    Park as a pristine public space
    Fiona Saint has presented the case.admirably.

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