East-West tunnel threatens homes, school

Issue 

The Victorian government has escalated its plans to build an unpopular, costly and environmentally damaging East-West road tunnel.

The Age reported on July 15 that "about 250 residents have received a letter advising the east-west link road tunnel is likely to be constructed near their properties, triggering concern that many homes will be compulsorily acquired.

“The state government last week sent the letter to residents in Collingwood, Fitzroy and Clifton Hill on or near Alexandra Parade and whose homes could stand in the way of the multibillion-dollar tollway.

“In May, the government said ground vibrations from construction machinery, loud noise and poor air quality were some of the risks associated with the construction of the east-west road tunnel."

The article quoted Collingwood resident Keith Fitzgerald, 70, who has lived in his home for his entire life and received a letter last week.

He said: "I don't want to go out far, I want to stay close to the city because I have lived here my whole life. I love the parks, I love the Smith Street restaurants and the Queens Parade shopping area."

Two days later, the Age reported that "Parents and teachers fear Clifton Hill Primary School could be forced to relocate during construction of the east-west link road tunnel due to noise, ground vibrations and pollution. They have also raised concerns about the tunnel’s ventilation station, which could be located a block away from the historic school."

The ABC reported on July 17 that: “The law firm representing the owners of properties facing compulsory acquisition are also accusing the government of thwarting access to project documents.

“Opposition leader Daniel Andrews says Labor may scrap the project if it wins the 2014 election, should legal challenges cause significant delays.”

Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport has vowed to continue the fight against a toll road.

[For more information on the campaign to stop the east-west tunnel, visit Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport.]