A letter from resident groups of the inner west

Say NO to West Gate Tunnel - rally for a sustainable Melbourne at Brooklyn, December 2017

Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne at Brooklyn, December 2017

Originally published in The Westsider: A letter from resident groups of the inner west – The inner west does not need or want the West Gate Tunnel project  (May 2018)

It’s been widely claimed by the government and the press that the west supports the West Gate Tunnel Project. This is not accurate. A small section of one suburb, and one action group support it and even they have serious reservations about it. The rest do not. Community members of the Community Liaison Group made clear to Western Distributor Authority in December 2017 that considerable unresolved issues remained in the project. The City of Melbourne is opposed to the project and the City of Hobsons Bay has flipped flopped over the issues in the face of staunch opposition from its residents. Academics have published a highly critical report and significant professional planning groups have written to government with their concerns about governance and design.

But still the government has continued to proceed and get signed agreements with TransUrban, pushed through gazetting of planning scheme amendments and commenced construction in the knowledge that the community do not support it and the Legislative Council has the numbers to revoke approvals and halt work. The government has used paid advertisements from big companies and the website and press releases of one community organisation to justify it in the Parliament. This is brinkmanship, not good governance.

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#GetOnBoard Community Powered Transport Plan

From Get On Board: Our transport system is a mess.

Roads don’t relieve congestion, they create it.  But state government after state government keep building roads. They keep putting the road lobby and private interests before smart transport solutions.

This is why we need to build enough momentum to stop ANY mega toll road project that they put on the table.

And that’s where our #GetOnBoard plan comes in.

In early February, 100 community members gathered to #GetOnBoard the new Community Powered Transport Plan. There were people from Altona to Mordialloc, Bullen and in between. There were people who usually voted Labor, Liberal, Green or for Minor Parties. But we want to set our differences aside to get the job done.

It’s up to us to get on board and get on with the job.

We’ve experienced decades of institutional failure. We’ve got amazing academics and urban planners with bright ideas. The community is hungry for better public transport to reduce congestion on our roads. Successive governments have failed to put in place the smart transport policies to cope with a growing Melbourne.

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Your invitation to the launch of Melbourne’s REAL Transport Vision

The Melbourne Times (1976)

The Melbourne Times (1976)

Residents of Melbourne’s inner suburbs have been fighting attempts to carve freeways and tollways through our city for decades.

In the 1970’s and 1990’s we defended the inner north against the F19 and Alexandra Parade widening.

In 2008 we began organising against East West Link Needs Assessment.

And in 2012 – 2014 we successfully fought the Napthine Government’s disastrous East West Link.

After that amazing success many thought we had finally stopped the politically-driven transport planning process in Victoria.

We were wrong. So very wrong.

Here we are again, facing a mega roads agenda with no vision for a sustainable and integrated transport system for Melbourne.

This time it’s west and north-east residents that are facing the onslaught.

Both the West Gate Tunnel project and the North East Link Option A will threaten the inner north and the city, adding traffic chaos and putting the East West Link back on the agenda for the future.

Both will destroy open spaces, amenities and people’s homes.

Our air quality will worsen.

Community Tunnel Picket, Queens Parade, Fitzroy North (2013)

Community Tunnel Picket, Queens Parade, Fitzroy North (2013)

Flyovers and elevated roads will blight the landscape.

We will all suffer from these roads. All of us will be impacted.

Mobilise Melbourne: A Community Plan For Transport

Mobilise Melbourne: A Community Plan For Transport

And if we let this happen, it will happen again and again, because we all know that building more roads means more cars, and then more roads, more destruction of our living spaces.

Its time to stand up and reclaim our right as citizens to have a say in how our city is planned.

Its time to say NO to planning being dictated by corporations like Transurban who are motivated by profiteering from toll debt.

We want a world class, clean, sustainable transport system. We invite you to join Public Transport Not Traffic, Sustainable Cities, Don’t Destroy Millers Road, Friends of the Earth, Public Transport Users Association and many others at the launch of Melbourne’s REAL Transport Vision, (alternative link) 8am – 9am, Tuesday 6th February, Parliament of Victoria, Spring Street, Melbourne

Thank you,

 

Harriet Mantell and Chris Star

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