West Gate Distributor plan short on detail, answers sought

Maribyrnong Star Weekly: West Gate Distributor plan short on detail, answers sought. 22 October 2014. Goya Dmytryshchak

Hobsons Bay council is seeking a full investigation into the impact of Labor’s proposed West Gate Distributor on several municipal clubs, a reserve and residents.

The council last week said there was a “paucity of detail” in Labor’s plans for a new $500 million freight truck route off the West Gate Bridge.

The plans include on and off ramps between Williamstown Road and Hyde Street in Yarraville.

Strand ward councillor Angela Altair said there were question marks over the impact of the distributor on the Westgate Golf Club, Donald McLean Reserve, Spotswood Cricket Club and surrounding buildings.

She said the current government’s East West Link might be a better alternative given the “very scant detail” about the distributor.

Cr Altair said it was important for the council to reaffirm its endorsement of the western section of the East West Link. An officer’s report to council said further detail was needed before the distributor could be supported.

“Council will need to consider the impact of the loss of public land and community assets to determine whether the net community benefit is acceptable,” the report stated.

It said the distributor would re-route trucks from the freeway through industrial, commercial and residential areas of Maribyrnong.

“It is unclear whether the potential loss of public land in Hobsons Bay, potential amenity impacts [outside the municipality] and project cost outweigh any benefits gained by the removal of trucks from such a short section of the West Gate Freeway and Bolte Bridge.”

The report said the East West Link had many positives for Hobsons Bay and the west, including a reduction of trucks on local streets, such as Francis Street and Somerville Road, by providing a direct freeway link between the Eastern Freeway, Port of Melbourne and Western Ring Road.

However, the report stated clarification was needed to ensure industrial traffic exiting the East West Link was routed on to appropriate arterial roads and not residential or already-congested roads.

Murray Newton, a spokesman for Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews, said the distributor would have minimal impact on Hobsons Bay, but he could not say what that impact would be.

“The local community will be consulted as part of the planning process,” he said.

“And the design is expected to have minimal impact on the Spotswood oval and Westgate golf course.”

Asked if Labor would go ahead with the distributor if it was forced to honour the East West Link contract, Mr Newton said he did not believe the link would go ahead if Labor won government.

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