Yarra Resident and Ycat Member on the East West Tunnel: The Lady’s not for moving

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Mary Fenelon intends to fight to save her home. Photo: Joe Armao

Before she built her house overlooking Alexandra Parade in 2000, Mary Fenelon rang VicRoads to ask if she could rent the block of land next door for a garden.

They were, she said on Wednesday night sitting at her kitchen table overlooking that now blooming garden, only too happy to rent the land, for what is today about $1500 a year.

Now, a day after the Napthine government announced it would build a $6 billion road tunnel that is likely to go through that garden, all the signs are VicRoads – which still owns the small plot – will want their land back.

But they won’t get her house without a fight, says Ms Fenelon, who lives on the corner of Alexandra Parade and Ballarat Street, Collingwood.

Ms Fenelon was among a group of local residents who battled the Catholic archdiocese at the state planning tribunal last year over a church they planned to demolish. The residents won.

”We beat the Catholic Church, and we can beat this,” said Ms Fenelon, 69, who so far has had no contact with the state government over her property – although neighbours received notices from the Linking Melbourne Authority on drilling plans on Wednesday.

Neighbours across the road sold their house for $1.24 million last month. They settled the sale only days ago, another neighbour said.

”We assume all of the houses along here will be acquired,” Ms Fenelon said. ”It’s very upsetting – I built here thinking I would die here.”

Before she built, Ms Fenelon rang VicRoads to see if there were any widening plans. ”Just to check it was not going to be a drama,” she said.

She said it was disgraceful that the state government had won the 2010 election promising to build railway down the Eastern Freeway. ”And now look what they are doing.”

 Clay Lucas, The Age, 9 May 2013

To read more go to Resident’s fear the worst for their homes: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/residents-fear-the-worst-for-their-homes-future-20130508-2j87i.html#ixzz2Sl49PKrq

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