2 April – Day 22

Wednesday 2 April


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Preliminary issues

Business case: Mr Morris said has nothing further to add.

Late submissions: Committee will not accept further late submissions.

Auditor General report on traffic: Committee said will review this.

Alexander Parade main drain: Statement by LMA on impact on this.

The committee has responded to RATS about air quality issues.

 

Presentations by community members:

As there are so many individuals presenting, the notes for each presenter below are semi-prose in style. Apologies for having to take a few short-cuts in order to bring you updates as quickly as possible.

Thanks again to all presenters and note-takers.  Community at its best.

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Mr Thomas Keel on behalf of Fitzroy Residents Association

Many Fitzroy residents do not wish the east west link to proceed. Its impacts exceed any benefits. It is a project for the 1950s. We need to concentrate on public transport. The lack of a business plan is concerning. It is more like a property developer’s brochure than a formal impact statement.

Referred to Swiss business plan for public transport. The CIS is not comprehensive. What is the rush?

Chris Goodman for 3068 group

Opposed to any proposal to link the Eastern freeway with CityLink and particularly to this project. Would support sustainable transport project.

Objects to the overpass at Hoddle St – a raised motorway is the real problem. It will degrade the environment.

It is an over design for the East West link, because it is not necessary for the East West link but for the traffic on Hoddle St which is outside the scope of is project.

The overpass is higher than train infrastructure and is a very poor design.  Pedestrians heading north on Hoddle St would have great difficulty in navigating the freeway.

Keep the road in the valley to minimise impact on Clifton Hill. The view from Darling Gardens will be impacted by the overpass.

Residents are concerned about impacts during construction on Clifton Hill.

Hoddle St is congested because of crossings at Johnson St and Victoria Parade.  These will not be assisted by the Hoddle St overpass.

Mr Goodman presented an alternative to the overhead crossing for northbound traffic turning east.  He showed plan produced by VicRoads under the Kennett government which does not include overpass.

Location of vent stacks are left to the bidders and not disclosed. They should be located as far east as possible.

Will this project integrate with public transport?  Is this impairing railway possibility?

Alexandra Parade: freeway underneath will not help the road above.

Temporary road in Clifton Hill: although it is a temporary road, it will devastate heritage areas.

Greater use of public transport has not pursued by this project. Veitch does not model public transport paradigm shifts, because not asked to do so.

Victoria will pay the consequences of this project for a long time.  Submit that should not approve the project.

Yarra Climate Action Now

Totally opposed to the project. Climate change is real and must be acted upon. It is the most urgent issue of our time.

CIS claims project will decrease vehicle emissions. This is not accepted. Do not believe traffic congestion will decrease. Traffic forecasting of toll roads has been worse than for non-tolled roads.

Must have public transport option to compare with road option. No other city in the world where the central project is a downtown expressway.

Cardijan Community Australia

Not directly involved, but interested as citizens.

Concerned about impact on Royal Park which is seen as a cheap site for a freeway, as river and stream valleys were seen in the past.

Should pursue demand-side strategies, rather than this huge project.  Renders Doncaster Rail way down the list of priorities, because of this project.

Presumption of freeway primacy in our planning. Heroic scale of freeway projects encourages us to believe that we are doing something.

Suggested should consider upgrade to Bell St as an alternative. Would have much less impact than the project and much cheaper and avoid busy inner Melbourne. Would not require tolls.  This is a proposal which deserves serious consideration.

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RACV – Brian Negus

Mr Negus outlined rail public transport projects that would work with the EWL in a multimodal approach (Doc 306).

Argued that the EWL a key project in delivering logistics and freight solutions – and creating 3200 jobs.

Uses a montage from CIS: stage1 impact on traffic; 23 intersections with traffic lights to improve north south flows; 1400 trams cross Alex Pde.

A question is put about congestion returning to current levels by 2031. How can the RACV claim time savings for north-south tram movements?   Mr Negus defers to LMA for updated statistics.

Mr Negus says the member support for EWL is at 38%. 52% wanted improved public transport. 48% wanted roads to ease problems.

RACV supports Part B.  A question is put about whether Part A will result in any relief for the Westgate Bridge and Mr Negus agrees congestion on the Westgate Bridge won’t be improved by Part A.

 

Grandparents Victoria Inc

The project presents a cost-burden to the grandchildren of the future. The EWL has insufficient guarantees on air quality and open space.

The level of interest is widespread well beyond geographically connected with project. Australia must provide detailed plans to provide improved play spaces to UN – we are losing precious play spaces here

The group received a number of responses from all parties – at least two government MPs claimed that grandparents who use the EWL will have an extra 2 hours of play with their grandparents!

We urge family impact statements for such projects in the future.

playing

Brunswick Zebras football club – Carlo Carli Doc 307

Although they have access to three grounds, it’s quite limited time. Parks provide important social capital to bind the community together: middle classes and refugee children.

Mr Carli’s presentation shows existing shortage of grounds and facilities. A lot of developments have no room to throw a frisbee, let alone to kick a footy; shortage of 12 soccer, football and cricket grounds (the same shared grounds).

Promised mitigation is smokes and mirrors – the projects have already been agreed to.

Decries absence of detail in CIS on how much space they will lose, will make grounds useless for cricket. Loss of newly renovated clubhouse- do people understand how hard it is to get funds for this?  For girls and women in football – modest renovation – devastating impact.

Grounds already hard up against freeway and surrounded by concrete creek.

Nine clubs to be displaced in total – will create pressure on others with their relocation.  Costs of relocation: no compensation for clubrooms.

Impacts on amateur clubs: relies on volunteers – if it is too hard on them, then they will leave and make clubs unviable.

Condemns CIS : no assessment of social and health impacts, no plans for alternative facilities, no assessment of Holbrook impacts, no detailed plans to know what will happen.

Can’t pretend that Holbrook will viable.  Want compensation and this is not dealt with in MOU. Want no net loss of sporting grounds.

Community Sporting Alliance: represents 5000 players.

Should have an independent analysis of social and environmental values of existing green infrastructure in inner north.

Christos Stathis: Essendon Royals soccer club, since 1959, home ground at Ormond Park.  Grounds already surrounded by a concrete creek. No access. Impacts are significantly under-estimated by reviews.

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Flemington Neighbourhood Renewal – Ahmed Dini and Shadia Aly

Many of the residents in Flemington housing estate are refugees from East Africa. It is not just a block of flats, but a community.  The community centre helps greatly in settlement.

Three main concerns: noise, playground and community centre.

Noise is already an issue – Shadia told us she lives in a small apartment with three children on 12th floor. On hot days have to open windows and it is very noisy – according to MVCC noise consultants (because disappointingly LMA undertook no monitoring there) the noise levels 67 -69db – well above the 63db specified under Citylink concession deed. Dismayed that LMA does not constantly monitor noise levels for compliance.

Double glazing won’t help as still have to open windows in heat.

The playground will be next to the construction site – makes no sense, mothers won’t take their children there – overhead cranes, noise, dust etc.

Need a master plan for a new playground – not a temporary solution and then moving back to current site – no one will play there.

76,000 visit community centre annually – enormously valuable for providing settlement services and English classes. Not possible to do this when surrounded by EWL.  Need a master plan to relocate centre close to housing.

Half of residents don’t know about EWL – never received any info.  Committee said they would visit again and were invited to see the conditions in the apartments for themselves.

Bicycle Network

Cycling growing very quickly as transport mode.  BN argues for better cycling infrastructure. In inner north cycling comprises 20-25% of mode share.

Cyclists are not keen on being relegated to median strip on Alex Pde. and would prefer to have cycling paths on both edged of Alexandra Pde.

North South movements along Brunswick St. are greater than on Alex Pde and this is important.

Eastern Freeway is a missed opportunity, as was the Moonee Valley Corridor.  Mode sharing should be a priority as it is becoming in many other cities eg NYC.  The EWL can help or hinder.

Carlton Residents Association Ian Bird

Mr Bird hit out passionately at the LMA – should be a model litigant but instead has a “whatever it takes” attitude.

There is no mandate. This is the most costly infrastructure project in Victorian history. The LMA likes to reference Eddington but ignores that report’s conclusion of a 0.50 benefit ratio.

99% of submitters oppose EWL; the project comprehensively fails in the popularity stakes.

Mr Bird argued that to solve ‘congestion busting’ with a road is outdated thinking. Build a road and cars will fill it. Only one in 20 cars travelling on Eastern Freeway have more than one person in them.  We should encourage them to mode shift to rail – one train = 800 cars.

Mr Bird spoke of the devastating impacts on the communities and described the project as “mad”.

Vision Australia

The Chair Kevin Murfitt spoke accompanied by his guide dog. He is a client of VA.

Twelve days ago he opened the new facility which was funded wholly by public and corporate sponsors.  Clients come from all around Australia – they are housed in properties close to facility for some weeks for training etc. The facility allows for breeding dogs, training and public viewing – the latter being important for fund raising.

He said the impact of EWL will be “catastrophic” and render the facility “unfit for purpose”.

It will deny many people like him the services they need.  Most of site would be acquired. Have planned this facility for more than six year.  While VA have had discussions with LMA, they have been offered no firm options yet.

Victorian Transport and Action Group

VTAG presented a detailed submission for an affordable public transport solution for Manningham based on three stages – upgrading the current bus system, building a light rail in the freeway median connecting to the city down Nicholson St and upgrading this to heavy rail when it was justified by patronage. The light rail option could be delivered within 3 years for a cost of $1.5 billion.

The group presented detailed figures for patronage and travel time, arguing that the goal should be to increase from 35,000 passengers a day currently to more than 100,000 passengers a day by 2031. This would take over 50,000 cars a day off the freeway which is the equivalent of 2 freeway lanes and almost exactly the amount of growth projected by the LMA in car usage over the same period – which it uses to justify an $8 billion investment.

 

Andrew Herington spoke for 10 mins originally allocated to YCAT

AH referred to confusion in some people’s minds regarding the Doncaster Rail not being built – it will be built, scheduled for 2025.  The LMA needs to take this into account in the context of building the EWL.

The Eastern Freeway Lands Act provides for a railway to be built on the Eastern Freeway median strip. Therefore prior to proceeding with EWL that legislation would need to be amended.  EWL designers are intending to use median strip for lane widening.

The alternative route for the rail-line in the Doncaster a rail study has the line veering south and destroying parts of Yarra Bend park and areas of significant Aboriginal and historical cultural interest.  Approvals would be unlikely for this.

Therefore the reference design should be rejected because of the impact on the future Doncaster rail link.  Future design should include a commitment to preserve the median strip for the rail.

Victoria Park should become a bus and rail interchange – bus interchange at Truro St possible. This should be included in the reference design as required in TIA.

Moonee Valley Sporting Club

MVSC outlined their role and membership spanning three generations of age groups. They are concerned that the Ormond St off ramp will have a range of impacts, but they have received no certainty from LMA about impacts and options and want someone to talk to them honestly about what is to happen.

Royal Park Sport

23 clubs and 6000 active members.  The club argued that there should be no loss of sporting facility ratios per club in Royal Park and Princes Park.  And that there must be planning disclosures to minimise damage and disruption and compensation to clubs through grants to councils to ensure no increase in ground hire costs.

Melbourne Uni Rugby Football Club

100 year old club and a source of many state and Australian Wallabies players. Could lose $30,000 in catering and kiosk sales alone (annual turnover of $100,000).

Concerned at loss of premier grade match quality fields, financial losses and protection of facilities from exclusion zones. Also important to to prevent contractor variations creating additional impacts.

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Alex Swain : AlexSwain ‘s presentation

Mr Swain spoke principally on the loss of open space in Debneys and Royal parks.

Debneys Park is a valuable asset for the whole community and brings many diverse community elements together. The CIS is dismissive if impacts and considers what will be left as suitable for a children’s playground.

Mr Swain showed a telling photo of an area under the existing CityLink viaduct which had been landscaped but now a neglected wasteland. Open spaces under viaducts are dark, threatening and dangerous he said and no place for children to play.

Open spaces benefit health, result in less depression and add to our sense of perceived well-being. The committee needs to consider the costs to the community of increased health problems eg diabetes. If 10 per cent of children get diabetes that is a lifetime cost of $4.6million.

That’s all for today!

***

Traffic case analysed  See the presentation here: Traffic – Virgona

A strong case against the traffic claims was presented late on Tuesday the afternoon by Andrew Herington (representing two Clifton Hill residents).

The full submission is worth reading as it goes into the six key weaknesses in the Veitch Lister modelling and give graphic depictions of the contradictions thrown up by the modelling. These weaknesses include:

  1. An absence of adequate sensitivity testing.
  2. No consideration of tolls or the price sensitivity of motorists.
  3. Confusion between different scenarios for Part A, Part B, Stage 2, widening of the Eastern Freeway and widening of CityLink,
  4. No figures with and without Elliot Avenue and Ormond Rd
  5. Exclusion of committed and planned public transport improvements
  6. There is no reliable origin destination study to underpin the assumptions about where motorists are going.

These flaws throw a cloud over the credibility of the figures in the CIS which differ from the additional information tabled in the hearings.

It highlights the absence of predictions for 2021 and the close parallels to failed tollways on other states where initial traffic use fell far short of the original projections.

The submission also tackled the LMA argument that the only relevant comparison was between the traffic predictions for 2031 with the freeway and what the modellers think will happen without it being built.

The LMA has used its “Demon Diagrams” to make baseless claims that there will be less noise and air pollution, reduced traffic in local streets and faster north south travel times (including trams)

In absolute terms, all these factors will get worse, not better.

There CIS should have also included figures to enable a comparison to the existing conditions in 2012 (ie what we all see and hear now when we look out our front doors).

Significantly, it should also include a comparison to 2031 if alternative investments such as the Doncaster rail line and other less expensive investments had been made instead.

Only by considering the impacts compared to a more balanced set of improvements to roads and public transport can the “benefits” of an $8 billion investment be fairly assessed.

The final matter dealt with in the submission is a detailed alternative to the Hoddle St flyover, similar to that proposed by the Counsel Assisting, Mr Chris Wren SC, showing how the on ramp could be kept on a low profile and pass beneath Hoddle st.

Six similar P-turns already operate in Melbourne and this alternative has clearly not been properly considered in the CIS – another example of how it is a rushed and defective document.

 

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