Moreland residents reject East West tunnel plan

Issue 
Picket shuts down the offices of Lend Lease on November 13 in Melbourne. Photo: No East West Tunnel - Take the pledge/Facebook

A meeting of about 160 residents called by Moreland City Council voted unanimously to reject the proposed East West Link on November 12. The first stage of the major road project is planned to link the Eastern freeway with the Tullamarine tollway at an estimated cost of $8 billion. Residents called instead for the money to be spent on improved public transport.

Andrew Munro, from the Metropolitan Transport Forum, spoke of the need for more investment in public transport.

Moreland City Council officers Shannon Best and Elaine Wyatt explained some of the impacts of the proposed tollway on Moreland residents, including loss of parkland and sports grounds, and more noise for residents living near the Tullamarine tollway, which will be widened to cope with extra traffic coming from the tunnel.

Ian Mack, from Yarra Climate Action Now, explained the effects of the proposed tunnel work, including exit ramps and flyovers, on residents of the City of Yarra. Some will lose their houses, while others will suffer increased noise and other ill effects.

Mack also said motor vehicles would contribute to carbon dioxide emissions and other forms of pollution.

Bill Richardson, an officer of the Moonee Valley City Council, discussed the impact on residents in the Moonee Valley area, where the tunnel will surface and link with the Tullamarine tollway, including loss of parkland, sports fields, community gardens and children’s play space.

Tony Morton from the Public Transport Users Association said the proposed tunnel was a “criminal waste of money”, and called for the upgrading of rail, tram and bus services throughout Melbourne.

Moreland Greens councillor Lenka Thomson said some public transport improvements needed in Moreland included duplication of the Upfield railway line north of Gowrie, extension of the North Coburg tram line to Fawkner, and improved bus services, as well as better bicycle infrastructure.

Moreland councillor Sue Bolton, a member of the Socialist Alliance, called for a big community campaign involving residents throughout Moreland. She called for active opposition, citing the example of the campaign against the Eastern freeway in the 1970s, when the mayor of Fitzroy was one of those arrested for trying to block construction work. She also cited the successful campaign against the Franklin dam.

On November 14 Moreland council voted for a motion moved by Bolton to allocate another $20,000 to the campaign.

[A campaign meeting will be held on November 28 at 6.30pm in the Temple Park Senior Citizens Centre, Gray Street, Brunswick.]