Melbourne Times Weekly: No love for East West road tunnel by Chris Hingston (10 April 2012)
Pressure is mounting for the City of Melbourne to take a stance on the East West road tunnel, after Yarra council voted to launch a campaign against the proposal. It comes amid speculation an above ground option to connect the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road may also be considered.
Last week City of Yarra council voted to embark on a campaign to oppose the East-West tunnel and support a Doncaster rail link to the city.
Under the campaign, Yarra will write to all City of Melbourne councillors asking them to oppose the proposal.
Yarra council will also write to Darebin and Moreland councils for support and will erect signage on major roads.
In 2008 the Melbourne City council voted to abandon its support for the East-West Road Tunnel proposal and strongly objected to using Kensington’s Holland Park or Royal Park in the project. Melbourne City spokeswoman Shelley Blake said the current Melbourne City council has no formal position on the road link.
Yarra councillor Alison Clarke said an East-West link would be a “complete disaster for the inner city”.
She said the road link was not consistent with sustainable transport and urged Melbourne City to join Yarra in opposing the project.
Melbourne MHR Adam Bandt, who has asked the federal government to reject the project’s funding proposal, said Melbourne council should take a strong position about the issue.
“There can be no room for fence sitting. We need to unite against [Premier Ted] Baillieu’s plan to drive a tollway through our community,” he said.
Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport secretary Freda Watkins applauded Yarra council’s decision, saying an East-West road link could destroy the community.
“We hope this will become a precedent for other local councils,” she said.
Kensington Association chairman Tony Dare said Melbourne City council should oppose the link if it disrupted the community or destroyed parkland – but, with no plans yet drawn up for the link, he fell short of calling for total opposition.
State government spokeswoman Larissa Garvin said it was premature to speculate on the nature of the
project as the government had only just asked for federal funding for planning and development.
Mr Bandt will host an emergency community meeting about the East-West road link next month.