Moonee Valley Leader: Pensioner George Mungherli has to chose whether to stay at home or lose his backyard and put up with noise from the East West Link. Linh Ly. 13 August 2014
George Mungherli, an 84-year-old pensioner, was one of the Moonee Ponds residents told he was likely to have his house acquired for the East West Link last year. George is standing where the fence will cross his land.
A Moonee Ponds pensioner who feared he would lose his home because of the East West Link may yet get to stay.
But the $8 billion road project will still come at a cost for George Mungherli, who faces losing a big chunk of his backyard and being swamped with freeway noise.
The 84-year-old was told in mid-2013 his Pattison St house was in the path of the proposed East West Link’s connection to CityLink and would likely be acquired.
Plans originally included a two-lane flyover to join CityLink next to Moonee Valley racecourse, but they were scrapped for an Ormond Rd off-ramp and CityLink widening works.
A Linking Melbourne Authority case manager met Mr Mungherli to discuss further options following State Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s decision to approve the project in July.
“She said ‘your house can be saved, if you want to stay you can’,” Mr Mungherli said.
He has lived at the house for 35 years and said he was happy to have the option to stay at his “kingdom”, but was unsure if it would be worthwhile due to the project’s impacts.
“I’m attached to this place because I’ve been here so long, but I don’t know if I’ll keep it,” he said.
“The worry is the noise. For anybody it’s a problem, (but) for elderly people it’s more critical.”
Linking Melbourne Authority spokeswoman Gemma Boucher said they had met with residents to understand individual issues and develop a property impact report, which would be completed in August or September.
“As East West Link only requires a portion of George’s backyard, we were able provide him with two options,” Ms Boucher said.
“He can stay and be compensated for the section of land needed and any loss in value caused to the land he retains, or he can choose to sell the balance of the property to (the authority).
“If he selects this second option he would also be entitled to reasonable costs associated with moving to and purchasing a new home.”
One Moonee Ponds property had been bought early at the request of the owner, she said.
Mr Mungherli said he would wait to find out his property evaluation and what compensation he would receive before deciding whether or not to stay.