26 March – Day 17

Wednesday 26 March

From Rose: Apologies for the later update today. I enjoyed an school excursion to Scienceworks this morning while Petra, Harriet, Gordon and Andrew continued to share news from the hearings.

Scienceworks has a Think Ahead exhibit where I found this message from the Victorian Government:

Scienceworks

2pm (and the last update for today)

Finanzio closes Yarra’s case by saying the Assessment Committee should reject the proposed East West Link in its entirety. Yarra says Victoria should be building public transport, which (unfortunately) is not a matter for the Assessment Committee. Yarra also opposes the project, on the basis it is a reference project “not a project”, which is a matter within the jurisdiction of the committee.

Finanzio, says Yarra City Council is not opposed to the notion of a tunnel per se. In fact Yarra is of the view that any major infrastructure in the area, be it road or rail, should be tunnelled. In relation to the tunnel for the proposed East West Link, Yarra of the view that the tunnel should be longer at both ends to mitigate impacts.

The Chair of the Assessment Committee directs the audience that there is to be no chatter, whispering, talking when individual submitters present in order to show respect and consideration as the experience can be intimidating. [Presumably cheering at the end of each presentation is ok though]

Morris is now speaking about air quality. He claims the ‘precautionary principle’ in the Environment Protection Act actually does not mean that the EPA should act in a cautionary manner – on the contrary he says it means that decisions to proceed should not be held back because of a threat of serious environmental impact which cannot be scientifically quantified.

The precautionary principle

(1) If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

(2) Decision-making should be guided by:
(a) a careful evaluation to avoid serious or irreversible damage to the environment wherever practicable (b) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.

Morning update

Mr Bryce Raworth is presenting evidence for Yarra City Council. His focus is on heritage impacts in Collingwood and Clifton Hill with several buildings to be lost if the proposed East West Link is constructed, and with impacts on views and surroundings of the Shot Tower.

Raworth says the heritage assessment is constrained by a lack of design information, with many “unknown unknowns”. Raworth says it would be beneficial to retain buildings in Clifton Hill west as the area is more intact.

Views from the Urban Circus visual model show the Shot Tower with the nearby ventilation stack. Raworth says the location of the 30m high stack would detract from the visual prominence of the 60m high shot tower, lessening the impact of the view.

Tweedie, for LMA puts the view, in relation to heritage buildings north of Alexandra Parade, that existing provisions are perfectly adequate to deal with what will replace those buildings that are demolished.  Raworth says in principle yes, but this site relatively large and not typical.  Once demolished it may seem prudent after a few years to seek to remove the heritage controls over this site. Therefore given scale of site perhaps need different consideration to the controls normally applied over smaller sites.

Tweedie says the urban design framework encourages innovative and creative outcomes through the Performance Requirements.  Raworth agrees in principle that an open design response can lead to good outcomes in a heritage sense but that most problems relate to scale and interface.

Tweedie argues that, in relation to Bendigo St, it already affected by structures that impose on heritage along its edge (Hoddle St).  But that this does not affect the heritage value of the houses there.  So if the boundary for the precinct is moved for a flyover, then similarity the heritage value of the remaining houses in the precinct won’t be affected.

Raworth agrees the value of the individual houses won’t be affected but that the setting will be, especially given the “visually aggressive structures” of flyover.  There is a distinction between significance for contributory buildings and the significance for the experience of the precinct or it’s “setting”.

Raworth closes by saying that the heritage impacts are very significant, and may be more significant given many elements of the design and project are unknown.

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