Wednesday, June 25, 2008

John So backflips - article on

As late as Tuesday, Lord Mayor John So was telling reporters that he supported an East-West freeway.

Twenty-four hours later, with the four members of his team all indicating on the floor of the council chambers that they would uphold the sentiment of the original Planning Committee motion moved by Greens Cr Fraser Brindley to abandon Council’s support for any East-West road tunnel, the Lord Mayor decided to save face.

The public galleries were filled beyond capacity with concerned residents, mostly from North Melbourne and Kensington, all waiting to see which way the Lord Mayor, and their Council, would vote.

The Lord Mayor offered no contribution until the very end of the lengthy debate. With a few quick words about the need to satisfy public demands for sustainable transport options, he voted with 8 of the 9 Councillors to support Cr Brindley’s amended motion.

Only Cr Shanahan, the sole ALP member on council, voted against, arguing that council needed to go further and state that they were “horrified” and “terrified” at the prospect of any East-West tunnel engulfing public spaces. As it was an argument over language, rather than of support for a tunnel, the State Government must now come to terms with the fact that 9 out of 9 Melbourne City Councillors have voted to strongly oppose any East-West road tunnel.

A firm political obstacle now stands in the way of the pro-tunnel State Labor Government…

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