Presenters concur: CIS is inadequate

By Petra Stock

A common thread of inaccuracies in the CIS ran through Thursday’s presentations on various topics including the zoo, Royal Park ecological values, climate change, agglomeration and impacts on local residents.

The two presentations on the zoo by Michael Petit and me highlighted the complete lack of assessment of impacts on the zoo, and misinformation about:

  • the distance of works from the zoo (the LMA says 150m despite its own maps showing works as close as 20m)
  • the relevance of international examples of Oregon Zoo, USA and Yagiyama Zoo, Japan given (both are rail tunnels, not roads).

Michael Petit told the panel the references made in the CIS to Oregon and Yagiyama zoos omitted important details.

“The CIS cites the Oregon and Yagiyama zoos as representative of this project but omits details about the depth of tunnels, the comparative infrequency of train arrivals and the closing down of highway construction for four months so one elephant had a better chance of giving birth. Very sloppy research and so easily refuted,” he said.

Susan Pepper, a birding specialist, spoke about the habitats in Royal Park. She said the biodiversity study done for the CIS would “not pass as a university assignment” because of the hurried and inaccurate collection of data.

Janet Rice, Victorian Greens Senator-elect spoke about the role of transport in adding to carbon pollution. She said the CIS has not complied with the Transport Integration Act in that it has not shown how the East West Link was a form of transport that had the least impact on the natural environment. She said the assessment of the likely impact of the East West Link on Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions “is profoundly inadequate”.

Dr Nicholas Williams, a senior lecturer from the University of Melbourne said incorrect and misleading information was supplied by the LMA to the Federal Department of the Environment and that the project should be a ‘controlled action’ under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Dr Williams said the East West Link would destroy the only remaining piece of remnant vegetation in the City of Melbourne.

William Fooks, a transport planner and forecaster recently returned from London, spoke about the weakness of relying on agglomeration benefits, which are normally associated with rail rather than road projects.

He said there was insufficient data in the CIS to make any assessment of the claims.

The Residents Against Tunnel team highlighted further inadequacies.  They said two years of background air quality monitoring was undertaken for EastLink but no such data was collected for the East West Link.

They criticized the lack of consideration given to structural damage to homes and businesses, and the lack of information on how residents can claim for reparation of damage to their homes caused by blasting, vibrations, ground subsidence due to changing water tables.

All of these examples point to the rushed timeframes for preparing the CIS which limited the quality of the CIS and the extent of consultation.

As a result, many presenters today urged the assessment committee to send the LMA back to do more work on planning and assessment and investigating alternative options.

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