Flemington estate threatened by link

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Melbourne Times: Flemington estate threatened by link. Sue Hewitt. 7 April 2014

Three Flemington playgrounds will be “dramatically compromised” by the east-west link, a public hearing has heard.

Shadia Mohamad Aly, a former refugee, told the east-west link assessment committee that Flemington public housing estate residents are concerned about the project’s impact on noise levels, playgrounds and the estate’s community centre.

Ms Aly said there were more than 3500 residents in the estate, nearly half of whom were born overseas, many from Africa, and the estate’s sense of community was very important for people facing difficulties.

Ms Aly, a Flemington Neighbourhood Renewal group board member, said the estate had three heavily used playgrounds that would be “dramatically compromised by the new road” during and after construction.

She said mothers had told her they would not use the playgrounds once work started on the new road.

“A playground next to a building site just doesn’t make sense.

“It will be incredibly noisy, the playground equipment will be covered in dust and it might be dangerous.”

She said it was important for new playgrounds to be established before construction started and that the state government had to develop a master plan for the estate and Debneys Park taking such issues into consideration.

The Flemington Community Centre was a hub for residents but noise and safety issues arising from construction work would make its operation “impossible”, Ms Aly said.

She said the CityLink sound tube opposite the flats caused noise problems for residents living in small flats without air-conditioning..

Upgraded glazing might solve the noise problem, but residents didn’t want to keep windows shut and “bake inside our homes in summer”, she said.

She said the Linking Melbourne Authority, responsible for the east-west link, had not undertaken noise monitoring on the public housing estate but had in private apartments.

Greens MP Colleen Hartland told a hearing last week “building bigger roads in already congested residential areas, like Moonee Ponds and Ascot Vale, generates more traffic and results in additional car travel, car numbers and traffic congestion”.

The assessment committee, appointed by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, will hear public submissions until April 15.

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