Boroondara, Banyule and Whitehorse Councils have joined forces on North East Link and submitted a joint response on the project’s Environment Effects Statement (EES). In our response, we cite significant and unacceptable risks to the ecological integrity of open spaces and a disastrous impact on homes, local roads and community facilities.
North East Link passes through critical points in Boroondara, Banyule and Whitehorse. Councils share a universal view that the North East Link project, taken as a whole, cannot be justified in its current form.
If Corridor Option A, the Victorian Government’s preferred route, is selected for North East Link, Councils are concerned about the:
- acquisition and permanent loss of 30 hectares of open space and potential loss for up to seven years of other open space
- up to seven years of disruption caused by construction laydown areas and access routes
- loss of approximately 25,000 trees, including vegetation of national environmental significance and associated amenity and ecosystem services
- ground and surface water contamination
- irreparable damage to the Yarra River floodplain, Koonung and Banyule Creeks and other waterways
- impacts on human health
- the further division of communities, particularly through Watsonia
- excessive widening of the Eastern Freeway
- traffic noise impacts affecting the livability of our communities
- traffic, access and congestion impacts on local roads
- access to the La Trobe National Employment and Innovation Cluster.
Councils are also concerned the compulsory acquisition of many homes, businesses and the displacement of community facilities have not been properly accounted for.
Community facilities, such as the award-winning Boroondara Tennis Centre, Freeway Golf Course in Boroondara, AK Lines Reserve, Gabonia Reserve and Windsor Reserve in Banyule and North East Oval in Whitehorse, are vital recreational assets for communities across the three municipalities. The full impact of the Project on these facilities hasn’t been properly assessed, nor have any alternatives been put forward.
Alternative designs must be considered to save open space and minimise the impact of this project on the community and the existing environment.
The EES has not addressed many other key issues in any meaningful way. For example, the EES hasn’t adequately assessed the extent of the impact on native vegetation and open space.
The permanent acquisition and removal of vegetation along the Koonung Creek Reserve, Simpson Army Barracks and Borlase Reserve will lower the residential amenity and have disastrous effects on residential streetscapes.
Furthermore, Councils are concerned the Project will create unacceptable traffic congestions on many arterial and locals roads within the vicinity of the proposed North East Link and the Eastern Freeway.
Suggested upgrades to the Eastern Freeway are overdesigned for the stated purpose and the full extent of the upgrade is unnecessary. This will cause driver frustration and impact road safety, leading to ‘rat running’ and a poor overall experience for motorists using our roads.
Overshadowing of private dwellings abutting the proposed upgraded Eastern Freeway in Whitehorse and Boroondara will have a negative impact on livability and health. Residents will be unable to enjoy spending time in their own backyards.
The Project’s effects on human health, safety and impact on local road networks and the permanent loss of irreplaceable open space have not been adequately assessed or quantified.
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Jane Addis:
“The Victorian Government’s proposed Corridor Option A will destroy 6-7 hectares of the Koonung Creek Reserve. To put this into perspective, that’s equivalent to roughly two MCGs. This land simply cannot be replaced in the City of Boroondara.”
“The Victorian Government needs to properly identify and justify the benefits of this Project. The Environment Effects Statement hasn’t addressed many issues in any meaningful way. If this project goes ahead, it will have a major and long lasting detrimental impact on our community.”
“A more sensitive arrangement, capable of minimising the impact of the North East Link on our community and our facilities is possible, but hasn’t been explored by the Project.”
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Banyule, Cr Wayne Phillips:
"Banyule remains opposed to the North East Link through Banyule as it does not provide the best transport outcome for the future needs of Melbourne. Since the Victorian Government announced the preferred route, we’ve been advocating for changes to protect our natural environment, preserve our local neighbourhoods, avoid dividing our community and provide for real solutions to the transport issues in the north."
“This is a massive project that will have an enormous impact on the Banyule community both during and post construction. A longer tunnel north of Lower Plenty Rd would reduce property acquisition, minimise the impact to residents, businesses, and parklands and deserves the full consideration of the Victorian Government.”
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Whitehorse, Cr Bill Bennett:
“Whitehorse Council has concerns which have not been addressed by the Victorian Government, should proposed Corridor Option A go ahead."
“The Project’s effects on the health, safety, amenity and the environment within the region are unacceptable. The Victorian Government need to respect and value the places that we live, work and socialise.”