Herald Sun: East West Link protesters claim tunnel will affect animals at Melbourne Zoo. Andrea Hamblin. 4 May 2014
Protesters march from Princes Park to Melbourne Zoo. Source: News Corp Australia
Picketers have dressed their children as fluffy animals and marched in the rain to highlight their claims endangered animals will suffer under a plan to build a tunnel near Melbourne Zoo.
But animal experts have rejected concerns the East West Link project could damage species at the zoo.
More than 100 people walked from Princes Park to present a petition to zoo staff, after plastering native trees with paper signs calling for an end to the massive road project they say will damage the environment.
Some vowed to cancel their annual donations to the zoo until the health of the animals was considered.
Community Against the East West Tunnel spokesman Michael Petit questioned why an independent study into the possible impacts of a tunnel under the park has not been commissioned.
The action group wants a study into impacts from noise and vibrations caused by traffic flow on the tunnel, which will be under what is now Elliot Ave.
But Melbourne Zoo chief Jenny Gray said the zoo had been working closely with the Linking Melbourne Authority, the State Government and the project’s potential contractors.
“We’ve met with all of the potential contractors, some up to four times,” she said.
“They’re all aware that nothing untoward should happen to the animals and we have those commitments from everyone involved in the project.”
Potential impacts had been investigated, Ms Gray said.
“We’ve been looking at what the possible impacts could be,” she said.
“We are very confident that it won’t cause any significant problems to the animals or to the visitors.
“There’s a lot of unknown going forward and we will be active in making sure those (potential impacts) are minimised as they become clearer.”
Ms Gray accepted a petition containing 99 signatures and a further 28 letters following the march, which ended at the zoo’s entrance.