Following mediation with the Victorian Government and North East Link Project (NELP), the City of Boroondara and Whitehorse City Council will withdraw from the judicial review process of the North East Link project.
The councils commenced legal action because of concerns about the lawfulness of the process of approval used by the government for the reference design. Council’s legal action was never going to stop the project and Council is pleased to have reached a settlement with the Victorian Government and NELP. In withdrawing, Council has secured additional opportunities for meaningful consultation with NELP and its contractor as plans are developed, in addition to a number of highly beneficial outcomes for our community.
The Victorian Government and the NELP have agreed to provide the opportunity for Council to work with the successful bidder to review and discuss the design of the North East Link. Council involvement in this process will seek to minimise the impact of the project on the community, council land, community assets and neighbourhood amenity.
As part of the agreement reached during mediation, the Victorian Government and NELP will in relation to the City of Boroondara:
- Protect and retain the Freeway Golf Course as an 18-hole, competition-standard public golf course.
- Transfer 1.9 hectares of land at the former VicRoads depot in Kew to Council for community use.
- Plant at least 4000 trees in Boroondara.
- Return the balance of the Koonung Creek Reserve land not acquired for the project to its original state with some improvements following completion of the NEL.
- Provide $300,000 to install the 40km/h shopping centre speed limit on Doncaster Road through the Greythorn Shopping Centre.
- Provide $500,000 for the finalisation and delivery of the Bellevue Shopping Centre improvement plan.
- Provide $700,000 for the design and construction of pedestrian operated signals on Balwyn Road, Balwyn, near Gordon Barnard Reserve.
Council had to choose between keeping the Freeway Golf Course as an 18-hole public golf course or retaining a regional tennis centre requiring 3.68 hectares of public open space land in Boroondara.
NELP’s preference was to relocate the Boroondara Tennis Centre to the current Freeway Golf Course site resulting in a shortening of the golf course to a 9-hole course. However, the Freeway Golf Course is a public golf course and one of only two golf courses in Boroondara. Shortening it was unacceptable.
Boroondara is a built-up municipality and has limited open space. As our population grows, open space, which is already at a premium, will be a lot more important for the community’s quality of life. The retention of public open space is vital for the City. Therefore it is not possible to construct a new regional tennis centre on existing public open space in Boroondara. Instead, Council will work to strengthen and improve tennis through our local community tennis clubs.
The Victorian Government has informed Council that it has commenced work to identify a new site for a new regional tennis centre outside of Boroondara. This would replace the current Boroondara Tennis Centre, which has been used by residents from across Melbourne. The Boroondara Tennis Centre at its current site on Bulleen Road will continue to operate until at least the end of 2022, provided a contractor is available.
Council will provide further information in due course.
Quotes attributable to City of Boroondara Mayor, Cr Cynthia Watson
“Council now has a seat at the table when the successful tenderer submits their final design for review and adoption. We can have direct and clear conversations with the tenderers to minimise and reduce the impact on our land, our amenity and the assets our community enjoy”.
“Our goal is to protect and retain as much open space as possible for our community. The site of the former VicRoads depot will be valued open space for the Boroondara community to enjoy.”
“We had to make a difficult decision between keeping an 18-hole competition-standard public golf course or keeping a regional tennis centre used by both residents in Boroondara and other municipalities. As our population grows, the retention of open space is important.”
Quotes attributable to Bellevue Ward Councillor, Cr Jim Parke
“Council managed to secure important improvements to road safety through the Greythorn Shopping Centre on Doncaster Road. The community, traders and Council have been advocating for greater safety measures, and the lowering of the speed limit to 40km/h is a good start.”
“I look forward to working on revitalising the Bellevue Shopping Centre, which provides the local community with a great village shopping experience. Once complete, this project will boost the local economy and enhance the shopping experience for the residents of Balwyn.”
For more information, please call Eren Cakmakkaya, Media and Advocacy Specialist at the City of Boroondara on 0481 912 411.