Everyone knows that that the Coalition Government (now in caretaker mode) led by Denis Napthine has already signed the contracts for the infamous East West Link Toll Road in advance of the election this Saturday. What the public may not appreciate is that the East West Connect, a consortium contracted to carry out the construction of the biggest infrastructure project ever seen in Victoria, has already commenced work on the project in Royal Park. Last week teams of EWC surveyors moved in and commenced marking trees for removal in the vicinity of the planned tunnel entrance over the Ross Straw Field in Royal Park West as well marking what appears to be a construction road up Brens Drive, through the State Netball and Hockey Centre carpark and north on to the area of Royal Park designated by Linking Melbourne Authority for a construction camp and carpark.
Julianne Bell Secretary of PPL VIC comments:
“Our State wide coalition of 80 groups, plus a huge network of supporters for public transport not tollroads were outraged by the effrontery of Napthine and his cohorts to have started construction of the East West Link Toll Road in advance of the election and before the legal challenge to the project by the Cities of Yarra and Moreland is heard in the Supreme Court in mid December 2014. Last week our lawyers wrote to the contractors asking that work stop pending the legal hearing. They haven’t stopped work and it looks like they wont. Despite denials by EWC that trees are being marked out, we are afraid there will be a wholesale clearance overnight of indigenous/native vegetation in West Royal Park which pre dates white settlement and which has never suffered any real disturbance. This is the only remnant vegetation site left in Melbourne as far as we know. It is also habitat for an endangered species – White’s Skink.”
Meantime, for over a week, opponents of the East West Link have gathered daily in Royal Park to express their opposition to the project and to protest over the fact that the Coalition has given the go-ahead to work before the case comes up before the Supreme Court. The State Netball and Hockey Centre management believes the line delivered by EWC that there will be no interference with Brens Drive or with the Centre carpark.
There appears to have been a blanket ban by the media on reports that East West Connect has started project work in Royal Park. Shock jocks on 3AW and ABC 774 have refused to discuss the subject or newspaper letters editors to include comments.
Our groups call on the Labor Opposition, if elected this Saturday to govern, to put an immediate protection order on Royal Park to ensure that East West Connect desist from any further work in the Park or on the SNHC site.
Contact: Julianne Bell, Secretary, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. and Spokesperson Royal Park Protection Group Inc. Mobile: 0408022408