Moreland City Council: A message from Mayor Lambros Tapinos. Friday 25 July 2014
Many of you will have heard last week that Council has voted to take legal action against the State Government to have its decision to approve the East West Link reviewed by a Judge.
We are sharing the costs of this action with the City of Yarra, which has also voted to challenge the decision.
While Moreland residents aren’t set to lose their homes the way people in Yarra will, we will be hit hard by delays to crucial infrastructure put on the backburner while a potential $18 billion was devoted to the tunnel.
We will have to wait many years before the 19 tram will extend out to Fawkner, which desperately needs better public transport, and we will continue to face traffic congestion wasting time sitting at boom gates along the Upfield train line.
Moreland City Council cannot, however, tell you what impact traffic trying to avoid the tolls will have on our suburbs, because the State Government won’t release its secret business case.
The Minister’s expert panel accepted our submission that the tunnel’s night time noise limits will need to be controlled. It also accepted the need to protect Holbrook Reserve, an important sporting facility in Moreland.
But the Minister rejected his own expert panel’s recommendations and approved the project without a detailed explanation addressing Victorian Councils’ legitimate concern and criticism.
Moreland City Council does not take this action lightly, we know every dollar of ratepayer’s money counts.
A project of such size and cost must be supported by the best possible evidence before it is approved by a Minister.
We do not believe that the Government has made the case or followed proper process.
Moreland wants a Judge to decide if the process was properly followed before the State of Victoria is contractually committed to a multi-billion dollar project
that will change the city forever. The shared cost with City of Yarra will be between $100,000 and $300,000.
As Councillors we felt we had no other option than to do our job as advocates for our community and call in a judicial umpire. We believe the Government should take this project to the court of public opinion at the November State election.