Senior citizens vow to stay put during East West Link construction in Collingwood

Melbourne Leader: Senior citizens vow to stay put during East West Link construction in Collingwood. Nic Price. 6 March 2014

Collingwood seniors Leo Stone,Nina Fraser, Trish Sidway, Keith Fitzgerald and Evangelos Vasilopoulos are angry about proposed relocations of residents during construction of the tunnel. Eastern freeway entrance in background. Picture: Janine Eastgate Source: News Corp Australia

Some of Collingwood’s oldest residents have vowed they will not be moved from their homes during East West Link construction, despite the threat of severe noise and vibration.

The Linking Melbourne Authority said temporary relocation was standard practice during high impact works and had been offered to residents near other major projects, including EastLink and the Regional Rail Link.

Five Collingwood seniors, with a total of 233 years in their homes, attacked the proposal and warned it could lead to severe health impacts.

Ninety-one-year-old Leo Stone was born, bred and married in Collingwood and has been in his Alexander St home for 65 years.

“It would be shockingly difficult (to move temporarily). At my age I need medication all the time and things at home I don’t want anyone to know about,” he said.

Evangelos Vasilopoulos, who has lived in Alexander St for 45 years, said a move would not be good for his sick wife, while Keith Fitzgerald, a 69 year Bendigo St resident, warned it could be “too much” for frail seniors.

Long-time Forest St residents Nina Fraser and Trish Sidway vowed they would not be moved from their houses under any circumstances.

Linking Melbourne Authority spokesman Matt Phelan said relocations would be voluntary, and would affect a small number of residents for 1-3 days at a time.

He said about 40 residents were moved during EastLink construction.

Residents near Hoddle St are set to experience the most vibration as digging through hard rock was required before drilling could begin.

Mr Phelan said acoustic sheds would be used at each end of the tunnel to contain noise, light and dust.

He did not answer the Leader’s question on whether residents who elected not to move during construction could be compensated in other ways.

He said temporary relocation specifics would be finalised by the selected construction firm, but questions can be directed to the authority on 1800 217 569.

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