Community Rally against East West Link at Smith Reserve, Alexandra Parade. Speakers included Cr Stephen Jolly, Adam Bandt, Sam Scholten, Dave Kerin & locals affected by potential East West Link works. (31st August 2013)
Herald Sun: Residents rally in Fitzroy to protest over East West Link. Amelia Harris (31 August 2013)
More than 150 angry residents from Melbourne’s inner north have attended a rally against the East West Link.
Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly, who organised the event in Smith Reserve, Fitzroy, told the crowd there had been a “tsunami of support” against the 6km road project, which is expected to cost up to $8 billion.
Federal Greens MP and local member Adam Bandt was among the attendees.
Mr Jolly said he was almost certain Tony Abbott would be prime minister in seven and a half days and $1.5 billion would be given from the federal government to the State Government.
He urged residents to “scare off investors” when they met the State Government by protesting and “hounding them” and to take inspiration from the Dandenong Ranges township of Tecoma, which was fighting construction of a McDonald’s.
“A small town when united around a specific issue, when they put their bodies on the line, can achieve huge things,” he said.
He said the campaign would look for any available legal challenge to “bog and slow down this government”, get trade unions on board and continue community action.
Mr Bandt said East West Link was a “zombie that won’t die” and one train took 800 cars off the road.
“Building more roads to fix congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity. It won’t work,” Mr Bandt said.
He said no one in Victoria wanted the tunnel and if it went ahead Victorians could say goodbye to public transport infrastructure for “a very long time”.
Northcote High School environment captain Sam Scholten said the group of 40 students he led “really hate this East West Link and we are going to fight it to the end”.
The 16-year-old from North Fitzroy encouraged residents to chain themselves to trees in Royal Park, which will be heavily affected.
Expressions of interest for the first stage of the link between Clifton Hill and Parkville closed on Thursday.
The State Government wants construction to begin before next year’s state election.