Melbourne Leader: Yarra Council joins neighbouring Moreland in legal pitch against East West Link. Nic Price. 21 July 2014
Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky said the council had an obligation to act in the best interests of its community on the East West Link plans. Picture: Angie Basdekis
Yarra Council has joined the legal battle against the controversial East West Link, aiming to derail State Government plans to sign contracts before the state election.
At a special meeting this morning, councillors voted unanimously to join Moreland Council’s Supreme Court appeal against the planning approvals granted for the $8 billion road tunnel between the Eastern and Tullamarine freeways.
Councillors Simon Huggins and Misha Coleman were absent from the meeting.
The deadline to lodge an appeal is today.
Yarra Mayor Jackie Fristacky said the council had an obligation to act in the best interests of its community.
“Yarra has long opposed the East West Link because of the absence of a transparent and viable business case and the devastating impact it would have on our local community, local heritage, inner city traffic and many other important aspects impacting livability,” Cr Fristacky said.
Councillor Stephen Jolly said legal proceedings could push signing of contracts out beyond November’s state election.
“We have a strong case. If it succeeds we’ll wreck the government’s timeline,” he said.
Cr Jolly said it was unknown how much the action would cost.
He said councillors had been inundated with emails from residents and tunnel opponents during the weekend calling for them to take action.
It appears Melbourne Council will not join the local government revolt against the project, despite stinging criticism of the process.
In a motion passed earlier this month, councillors attacked the government for approving the project “in a way which denies the scientific and legal assessment processes and the professional recommendations of the (expert planning panel), and which ignores the clear will of the community”.
The motion called for contracts not to be signed until after the election.
The government has always planned to sign contracts before it goes into caretaker mode in early November.
Labor opposes the project, but has pledged to honour any contracts in place if it won government.