9 April – Day 26

Wednesday 9 April

Today’s schedule:

wedam

wedpm

wedlate

Preliminary matters

The LMA sought clarification from the committee in relation to traffic figures requested for the Hoddle Street ramps. The committee confirmed the question is simple – are they the volumes the LMA is standing by? Is this the best estimation for 2031 volumes using the on-ramps?

The committee also asked for daily traffic volumes over an average week and want the best information the LMA can give them in relation to existing traffic volumes, particularly peak hour volumes. The committee says they want to compares ‘apples with apples not apples with elephants’.

Community and individual presentations

Helen Masters

Helen Masters talks about the personal impact of the proposed East West Link on two properties she owns on Gold Street. One is her house: “it’s a terrific place to live”. Masters lives in a three-level home. She shows us the expansive view from her bedroom window of the Shot Tower.

Masters says it would be prudent to get an expert assessment of foundations before the works commence. She says there should be a transparent process for compensation for damage caused.

She is concerned about impacts on the “much loved” shot tower and the nearby emissions stack less than 100m from her house and from the Clifton Hill Primary School. Is the “system just venting or is it effectively filtering emissions”?

She requests that the tunnel portal is moved further east and that the acquisition process is done transparently and fairly.

John Gibson

John Gibson supports the project but is concerned about impacts on a property he owns on Alexandra Parade East which currently directly abuts the existing Eastern Freeway and will be 10m from the East West Link. He is concerned about loss of value, views of Yarra Parklands and noise impact.

The house is currently leased and Gibson is concerned about letting the house during construction with dust and noise potentially making the property unappealing to tenants.

Dr John Stone

Dr John Stone is speaking in his role as an academic planner at the University of Melbourne. His area of expertise is metropolitan planning. “Planning should be the systematic assessment of options.”

Concerned that there is no formal information on assessment of the benefits of the project or comparison with alternatives.

Stone says the East West Link lacks appropriate planning – the process has been constrained by the Victorian Government’s political objectives and the time frames for the tendering process.

Stone says “the future of the integrity of planning in Victoria is at stake” and the “trust of the community in planning processes is in your hands”.

Penelope Somers

Penelope Somers is speaking as a professional traffic engineer and someone who lives in the inner north. Somers highlights where CIS technical appendices did not address requirements of the scoping documents:

  • No literature review or consideration of evidence, international opinion or background documents such as the Victoria Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) report on managing traffic congestion and report on cycling as well as the inquiry into the Sydney cross-city tunnel
  • Lack of sensitivity analysis
  • Walking was not given adequate consideration – quotes Carl Sagan “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”
  • Says Alexandra Avenue should be constrained to lock in benefits otherwise induced demand will wipe out any benefits
  • No substantiation of benefits to transport system users.

Justin Madden MP

Justin Madden says he will “speak from the heart” today. Madden says he has concerns about what is hoped to be achieved by the proposed East West Link. He discussed the following concerns:

  1. Terms of Reference
  2. Direct impact on local residents
  3. Impact on open space
  4. Traffic Impact and cost of mitigation
  5. Replacement land value for land lost
  6. Impact of construction works.

He is concerned about the terms of reference for the assessment committee and the project’s interaction with the Moonee Valley Racecourse Re-development.

He says having been through the process of land acquisitions (as Planning Minister) for various projects “governments never get this right”.

Madden says that if people are only paid at market value they won’t be able to re-purchase within the same community and some will need assistance in making this transition. He talks about an 84 year old constituent whose home will be acquired, and who is not at the time of his life when he wants to make a big move.

Madden lists off community facilities impacted: community gardens, parks and reserves, and impacts on Moonee Ponds Creek.

Madden says issues at Hoddle Street are now being pushed across to the Moonee Valley corridor – “for no upside”. Madden says “you are filling the surrounding areas with traffic but not giving locals access to see their way through it”.  Moonee Valley ratepayers “will cop it twice”: they will pay for congestion and then pay for amelioration to deal with congestion.

Madden says the project should be engineered to the least possible impacts on the surrounds. Madden says if land is cheap, acquisition is pursued instead of finding engineering solution.

Madden says open space should be replaced, not just piecemeal under freeways, but rather there are opportunities to return land to Royal Park, for example when the juvenile justice facility needs to be replaced.

He talks about the impact on daily commuters and lost productivity during construction for a significant amount of time.

He says therefore that the lifespan of the impact “might be somewhere in the order of eight years” and then only have a small window of 8-10 years where you get the maximum benefit from that piece of infrastructure.

“The question remains are the benefits there… either at a local level or a productivity level.” Madden says we wont know if we don’t see the business case.

Madden says his personal view is that the proposed East West Link is “very unsophisticated last century planning”.

Madden

David Boag and Millicent Boag

The LMA says there will not be impacts on their home, David Boag says “I beg to differ”. Boag says the temporary road during construction will be 4m from where they will be having a cup of tea and welcomed the committee to come and have a cup of tea at their house to appreciate the impacts. He says the Provans currently acts as a sound barrier and is concerned about construction impacts.

Boag says “our children will be studying the final years of school when this goes on”.

His daughter Millie spoke eloquently about the impacts on her parents and the community. She says “just last week my mother was at the local community comforting a woman whose home will be acquired”.

Nicholas and Susan White

Susan White describes their lived experience of construction. She says there will be off-ramps 30m from their windows.

She is concerned about errors and omissions in the CIS. “Either the consultants are incompetent – which is unlikely – or the process has been too rushed”.

She says the Marshall Day Noise Assessment is based on their model from the CityLink upgrade but these measurements are out of date and there are changed conditions which have “increased noise bounce”.

White, a geologist, talks about areas of geological significance and environmental grasslands, which have not been addressed in the CIS.

Whites

Lina Maroun

Lina Maroun lives in Manningham Street and says she purchased the property as an investment for her child and now will be impacted significantly as the property is not expected to be acquired but will lose considerable value do to its close proximity to the project. She says she spoke with LMA and they said they were unable to help. She expressed her frustration that “each body that we talk to refers us to someone else”.

Ian Wallis

Ian Wallis, an engineer says he supports having a well planned link but the CIS does not meet these objectives. Wallis supports the development of a better design solution to avoid impacts on Royal Park building on the alternatives that have been put forward during the panel hearing.

About the emissions stacks, he says “you cannot reasonably stand next to a stack and feel that you are in exactly the same condition that you would be if you stood in royal park without that sort of structure”.

Wallis discusses the advantages of the Better East West Link proposal and other options that have been put forward.

He notes that CityLink was planned to be in a tunnel, but was implemented as a viaduct as a cost saving measure.

Wallis says the Elliot Avenue should be deleted.

Graeme Stewart

Mr Stewart owns a property in Manningham Street that abuts properties being compulsorily acquired. Understands that some people will suffer when these types of projects go ahead, but feels that they have not been treated equitably with neighbours or with the Evo apartments.

David Chachs

Chachs is a surveyor who lives in “the triangle” of affected Manningham Street properties (like Stewart above), which are surrounded by viaducts and abut properties being compulsorily acquired.

Chachs is concerned that there is provision in the CIS for works to continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Talks about his experience with the construction of the Evo apartments.

He is concerned about light spill, says the cheesestick is already lit at night, and the project will exacerbate this problem.

Chachs says as someone experienced in planning and construction that he could not understand the design which saw the triangle in Manningham Street being surrounded by tollroads and off-ramps.

He shows photographs demonstrating shadow effect on Royal Park, which extends well beyond the one percent area of pillars calculated by LMA. Says the viaducts “are brutally ugly”.

Says Whites Skink habitat is within the construction laydown area, which will mean a lot of spoil will be dumped on top. Of the remnant grasslands he says “this is an area that has somehow survived … can we preserve this? I think we really should try to”.

Chachs says the project is not viable in its current form and perhaps needs to be looked at in a later time. He says the triangle area in Manningham Street should be acquired and should be returned to public open space.

Jillian Blyth

Jillian Blyth is a practising psycho therapist and social worker. Her submission raised issues relating to lack of information in the CIS. She raised two key points.

  1. Reconfigured interchange at Hoddle Street – according to LMA traffic figures published in the Age, interchange will elevate 37K vehicles per week. Remains unconvinced about the need, noise and air pollution.
  2. Residents will have noise, air emission and dust impacts. According to LMA, project must make positive contribution to the local environment. Hard to imagine how the project will do this.

Michael Tan and Tina Choong

Tina Choong is speaking about impacts on Clifton Hill. She says she has been a resident of Clifton Hill for 30 years, and her household includes a terminally ill person and a senior person. She also owns an investment property on Noone Street which is one house away from the project. Choong has numerous concerns about the impact of the project on her household, on property values and on the health and emotional wellbeing of her household. “Clifton Hill is a low rise serene little village which affords a very calm lifestyle …” and provides good access to the city.

She is concerned about access to the hospital during construction. There has been no consideration by the LMA limiting construction vehicle access, and spillover traffic onto local streets.

She said they considered selling their property, but real estate agents advised waiting as the area is currently going through a phase of devaluation due to the East West Link. She says they have decided to live through the construction but is concerned that 24 hours, 7 days a week, 5 years of construction will be “unbearable”.

Choong says the CIS talks about indirect economic benefits, but does not discuss indirect economic loss for the 100s of residents affected by the project during construction and operation.

Choong is opposed to the proposed East West Link, but also outlines a number of detailed suggestions for minimizing the local impacts of the project should it go ahead.

Anne Isaac

Anne Isaac says she is giving her presentation based on her lived experience in Melbourne and of travelling to other international cities.

She says the proposed East West Link is being put forward at a time when other cities are progressing public transport projects, implementing traffic restraint measures to reduce pollution and curb congestion, and planning for adapting to climate change: “the government seems to be indifferent to these issues worldwide and to local issues”.

The CIS also underestimates the need for Doncaster Rail.

Kensington Association

The Kensington Association (members pictured below) has been in existence of over three decades, and represents hundreds of households and community members living and/or working in Kensington. It has consulted extensively with its members and the local community in developing its position in relation to the East-West Link project. The Kensington Association was represented by Mark Woodland who gave a very detailed presentation complete with high quality visuals showing the impact of the project at different sections along the Moonee Ponds Creek and other parts of Kensington.

The Association says it opposes the East-West Link proposal in its entirety. Woodland says the Government appears intent on immediately proceeding with this project in some form – to the extent that it is tendering the project, as well as heavily advertising it on prime time television.

Given this, the Association put forward a number of alternative options for the Committee’s consideration:

  • Should the Eastern section proceed, then the Association supports the City of Melbourne’s submission that this road should be connected to the Port via the existing City Link, not via the elevated roadway proposed as Part B
  • If the committee considers that a separate roadway is warranted to link to Melbourne’s west, then this roadway should be a tunnel, and its design and alignment should be separately considered in the wider context of linking to western Melbourne
  • If the committee considers that an elevated roadway is warranted, then this road should be located on the eastern side of City Link, so as to minimise impacts on Moonee Ponds Creek, existing residents and businesses
  • If the committee cannot consider this alternative because it falls outside the designated project area, then the Moonee Ponds Creek should be realigned to allow for the road to abut City Link, which will in turn create a wider, higher amenity open space and waterway edge to Kensington than would be the case if the road was built on top of it.

The Association offered the above ‘fall back’ ideas with great reluctance, but because “the current proposal is so patently flawed, and there are a number of ‘less worse’ alternatives to it”.

The Association’s submission largely focusses on the more localised impacts of the project, on the basis that others have extensively addressed the broader strategic and transport planning problems with this proposal, but few will have set out the more localised impacts of it on the inner west.

The Association argues:

  • There is no justification for Part B of the East West Link (Eastern Section)
  • Existing road capacity should be utilised before building new ones
  • Options for a tunnel should be properly investigated
  • The project has significant impacts of the current proposal on the Arden-Macaulay Urban renewal area
  • Local impacts on the Kensington Community include loss of open space, increased traffic congestion, increased traffic noise, visual impacts, and general amenity impacts.

Woodland says given the scale and significance of this project, the consultation process in relation to it has been token, and extremely rushed.  The community has been kept in the dark and drip-fed information along the way (he says we didn’t even know how tall the roadway was until recent weeks).

Woodland says a range of legitimate alternative solutions have not been properly considered, and instead everything has been dumped on the Committee to sort out, in ridiculous timeframes and under significant legal and other constraints.

The Association closes by stating that the best outcome is for the Committee to reject the East-West Link proposal in its entirety, and to reject Part B of the proposal (the elevated roadway) in particular.

Kensington Association

Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek represented by Kaye Oddie

Kaye Oddie’s presentation outlines the conflicts between various waterway strategies and plans for the Moonee Ponds Creek Corridor and the proposed East West Link. She talks about the extensive impacts on the creek such as over-shadowing, removal of vegetation, water quality, noise and light pollution.

You can read the Friends’ presentation here: Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek – Presentation East West Link CIS – Planning Panels Victoria Hearing

Oddie talks about the significant community effort that has been put into re-establishing vegetation below CityLink together with the City of Melbourne and Melbourne Water. Says Brett Lane’s suggestion that could plant exotic, shade tolerant plants underneath the tollway is not possible without “an irresponsible” water regime.

She says the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek do not accept that water quality in the Moonee Ponds Creek should be written off. She says further flood prevention measures will be required with the construction of the proposed East West Link.

She supports the Safety Net for Royal Park options as a better design, it would be preferable to place the road on the eastern side of CityLink where much of land is industrial.

Carlo Ursida

Carlo Ursida is a Kensington resident. He says according to the LMA the reference design is “perfect in every way”, alternative options are not worth considering. Ursida says the LMA has failed to justify the Elliot Ave ramps – The cost of loss and use of park land is too high compared to any benefit.

Ursida outlined a number of ‘viaduct embarrassments’ and that the proposed East West Link elevated structures will be another mistake. He says we do not know where tolling points will be and how this will affect driver choice. In the absence of a tolling strategy it is difficult to assess traffic impacts.

Ursida: This has all the signs of a political project – Inadequate, rushed assessment process.

What to do? Ursida says 1. Recommend that no approvals be granted. The Terms of Reference cannot be achieved because of timing. 2. Recommend a modified project. Result is an appreciative community and consequential environmental benefit.

Michael Ingram

Michael Ingram (pictured below, seated left) starts by asking why the tunnel could not be justified for the inner west, but was for the inner north, including the cemetery. He says “Please understand that the government officials have made a decision that we are not worth a tunnel.” He says the cemetery warrants a tunnel but not the residents in Kensington –  “is the impact on the dead worth more than the impact on us?”

He finishes by suggesting a simple ethical framework for assessing the project “residents must not be worse off than current”.

He prefers relocation of the East West Link to the eastern side of CityLink.

Ingram

Christine Di Muccio

Christine Di Muccio shows a picture of her house in Parkville West. She says they undertook extensive renovations after the Eddington proposal was rejected and lack of overlays or planning restrictions.She says this was meant to be their “forever home”.

She says that “Royal Park is a haven” and gives an emotive description [plenty of teary eyes in the audience] of the day “we first let our daughters cross Manningham Street by themselves, so they could access the playground without us, was a proud milestone. It meant their world had started to expand.”

She says her children undertake a daily 25 minute walk, by themselves from Parkville West across Elliot Ave and down Flemington Road to their primary school in North Melbourne. She says “this is critical for their independence and self-reliance”.

She says “we are not road experts, but an inadequate CIS and consultation process has forced us to educate ourselves despite conflicting information, runners, numerous documentation and ongoing uncertainty.

Di Muccio says the CIS doesn’t answer most of the questions she has about:

  • Ventilation
  • Structural damage and cracking
  • Health impacts and monitoring
  • Noise
  • Air quality
  • Time and street
  • Car parking, access and egress
  • Loss of parkland
  • Personal financial loss
  • Visual landscape ad design outcomes
  • Community voice
  • Citizens wellbeing.

Di Muccio: We are being asked to bear concentrated personal costs for a diffuse ‘public good’. This flies in the face of just planning policy which should bring improvement to all and ensure the costs are borne fairly by those deriving the benefits. What specific benefit are we gaining from this scheme in contrast to the significant loss in prosperity we incur? The CIS does not tell us.

Di Muccio says she wants to see sustainable, productive and good planning that is not cheap and destructive; no ‘gateway’ design, cut and cover or interchanges in Royal Park; considered and expert planning via an informed and meaningful Urban Design Framework that respects the existing environment; honesty and openness about impacts; and an equitable exit strategy.

Alister Huth

Alister Huth presented some interesting public transport ideas – a second Park and Ride at Bulleen and a new bus route to the CBD via the Eastern Freeway and Wellington St. He also backed the North East Bicycle corridor that was advocated at the Hearings by the Boorondarra Bicycle Users Group.

Huth also proposed yet another alternative to the Hoddle St flyover – this time a lower profile, north-south bridge for Hoddle St North traffic to pass above the right turn lanes which would reduce the visual blight. Suggests the LMA should be restructured to be an overall transport authority not just focussed on freeways.

Jennifer Bowen

Jennifer Bowen lives 150 metres from the flyover at Hoddle St and is very concerned about air pollution and noise – citing various evidence about the dangers of particulates. She is concerned about monitoring arrangements and whether noise mitigation.

Alexeena Murphy

Alexeena Murphy raised concerns about overshadowing from noise walls in Bendigo St and the impact on her apartment. She again raised the issue of how the project boundary has been defined and the secrecy around this. She wants a list of properties that have been already bought outside the project boundary.

Frances Xie

Frances Xie has been one of the stalwart daily attendees at the hearings finally got her turn at the microphone. She gave a short but hard hitting presentation running through the main arguments with a focus on air pollution. Xie highlighted the series of high profile tollways in other states which have gone bankrupt.

Helene McNamara

Helen McNamara is a Travencore resident making a passionate plea on behalf of the animals and birds of Royal Park. She says the efforts by local residents to save the area and improve its open space will be lost. McNamara asks – Who will monitor in the future the noise and the other standards that the freeway has to meet? We won’t know how bad it will be until it is too late.

She opposes the Ormond Rd on ramp and highlighted the success of the Essendon Community Gardens. McNamara suggests there are unmet costs for people of ($2000 per person), loss of amenity, loss of flora and fauna, security in your community. Across 3,000 people in Travancore and her estimate of $33,000 per person means $100 m a year for just one area.

Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack is a Moonee Valley Councillor making a personal submission – the municipality is under siege from this proposal which will only benefit people from elsewhere. He says the increased traffic will choke existing roads and reduce local amenity. Compensation is needed to fill gaps in what the community lacks and what it will lose.

There must be no costs for the Council – long term maintenance costs will flow but the replacement of facilities and open space must be factored into the project.

Cusack asks, as others have today – Why do we get viaducts and ramps when other suburbs get tunnels.  He says the process around Ormond Rd was staggering.

Meg Colasante and Anise Confait

Meg Colasante and Anise Confait (pictured below) are Bent St residents who ask “are we invisible?”. They criticised the LMA’s lack of local knowledge and the failure to show their units on their maps. They say LMA should go back to the drawing board and show some respect.
Colasante and Confait say: We are fighting against a moving beast – different answers, different measurements. Today heard the viaduct will be 6 metres not 14 metres away. The Minister sent them a letter talking about a tunnel suggesting he doesn’t understand their problems.
confait and colasante

Christopher Dalli

Christopher Dalli is a resident close to Ross Straw Field. Dalli spoke about his personal problems due to being forced to move away from the construction zone and try to rent their home out. He says he can’t sell and recent attempts to sell by neighbours has resulted in serious loss. Dalli wants to have a new process for acquisition for those outside the acquisition zone. The Government has under-estimated the huge impact this is having on people’s lives and financial situation.
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