Council Alliance presents closing submissions to North East Link public hearings

Published: Monday 16 Sep 2019

The legal team representing the Alliance of Banyule, Boroondara and Whitehorse councils has called on the North East Link Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) to seek more information on the impacts and deficiencies of the proposed Project.  

The IAC panel hearing heard from expert witnesses from a range of disciplines including traffic and transport, ecology, noise, air quality, traffic modelling, economics, urban design, landscape and visual impacts, surface water and ground water and open space. Expert presentations outlined detailed reports on the deficiencies in the assessment of the project’s impact, as well as alternatives to the reference design.

Many residents across the three municipalities are angry about the loss of trees and open space in their community, the proposed use of the reserves for construction laydown areas, potential noise and air quality impact, and the likely negative effect on local traffic. 

Community groups and residents directly impacted by the project have also presented their concerns to the IAC.
The Alliance will look forward to the IAC report as the next major milestone.  The Alliance of councils put in significant resources and effort to hold the government accountable on this major project to minimising environmental effects. We will continue to do so.   

As Mayors of the respective Alliance member councils, Cr Jane Addis, Cr Wayne Phillips and Cr Bill Bennett all fully support and endorse the comments made by the Alliance’s legal counsel in their closing submission to the panel hearing.

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Jane Addis:

The Boroondara, Banyule and Whitehorse Council Alliance presented an alternative and less ‘land-hungry’ design for the southern interchange at Bulleen Road. This design has the same road capacity as proposed by the NEL but with a significantly reduced footprint, particularly along the Eastern Freeway. The design minimises the impact and land take from the Koonung Creek Reserve. 

We call on the IAC to take the time to properly consider alternatives to the reference design which lessen the impact of the road project on the surrounding environment, facilities and communities.

Quotes attributable to Acting Mayor of Banyule, Cr Alison Champion:

We have presented a convincing case to the IAC that calls for changes to the project that will better protect our natural environment, preserve our local neighbourhoods, and avoid dividing our community. The project in its proposed form fails our community. It is essential that the EES process thoroughly addresses the concerns of the councils and local communities who will be drastically affected.

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Whitehorse, Cr Bill Bennett:

The communities living along the project corridor don’t deserve to be worse off because of North East Link. Whitehorse Council is looking for a skinnier design of the Eastern Freeway that reduces the impact on our residents as well as users of our valued and highly used parkland. 

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