Residents sent “Notice of Intention to Acquire” from Linking Melbourne Authority

Residents get letters saying their homes will have to go: ABC Melbourne News – Saturday 9th August 2014

News segment on complusory acquisition process in Collingwood commenced by Linking Melbourne Authority. Interview with Bendigo Street resident Keith Fitzgerald who’s lived in the same house for 70 years.

Nine News Melbourne: Anthony Murphy vs. East West Link Supreme Court Challenge. 8 August 2014, also featuring Harriet Mantell from Residents Against the Tunnel (RAT)

8 August 2014: Residents in the inner north have been sent “Notice of Intention to Acquire” from those delightful corporate citizens, the Linking Melbourne Authority.

Here’s a couple of choice quotes from the correspondence:

Page 1:

LMA has sought valuation advice to assist in determining whether you have a compensable interest in the property. LMA’s valuers will contact you shortly to arrange a suitable time to undertake an inspection of the property, assuming these arrangements have not been made with you already. Your co-operation in facilitating access to the property when sought by the valuers would be appreciated.

Comment: If you have received one of these notices, you should immediately seek legal advice, and perhaps attend the community briefing on property acquisition at the Flemington Community Centre on 13 August. This is not organised by the Linking Melbourne Authority.

Page 2:

It is expected that LMA will not require physical possession of the property until 3 August 2015, although you may vacate the property earlier should you wish. Arrangements for possession will be made nearer the time possession is required.

Comment: The obvious question is, why are they doing this now when it is completely unnecessary for the project purpose? Every time you get a chance, ask the LMA or government this question. The logic goes like this: there are no contracts signed to build the East West Link yet, and while the government is determined to sign them before the election period starts, there is no guarantee they will be able to do so. Their own time lines are so tight that what little remained of process, let alone good process, is being thrown overboard constantly.

Furthermore, there are 2 separate legal challenges to the project before the Supreme Court of Victoria right now, either of which could at least delay the signing of contracts past the election, and if this happened, and the ALP wins the election, they have promised not to build it. It beggars belief that a few weeks now, when the LMA itself says they won’t need these properties for 12 months, could make any difference to the ability to deliver this project if the Coalition was returned. So why are they doing it? One possible reason is to punish people who have opposed this project – we hope this is not the case. Another is to affectively ‘land bank’ these properties for “urban renewal” whether the project goes ahead or not.

Page 3:

3 What you cannot do with the land

Now that you have received the notice you must not, unless the Linking Melbourne Authority gives you permission –

  • sell the land or any part of the land;
  • give anybody any interest in the land;
  • put any lasting improvements (such as a house or dam or swimming pool) on the land.

Comment: Well its a relief to know that we won’t have to object to Collingwood residents trying to build dams on their properties anymore!

Page 4:

9  The notice can be cancelled
The Linking Melbourne Authority can cancel the notice. lf this happens, you will be told what this means.

Comment: In other words, they can just play with peoples’ emotions and futures as they wish “as flies unto wanton boys are we to the Gods, they kill us for their sport.” (William Shakespeare, King Lear)