Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Media release from Mt Alexander Rd and Royal Park groups

Mt Alexander Road Campaign Group
Royal Park Protection Group Inc.



On 24 June 2008 inner city Melbourne community and environment groups rallied at the Town Hall to persuade Lord Mayor John So and Councillors to reject one of Sir Rod Eddington’s more controversial recommendations - the proposed East-West Link road tunnels under residential areas and through Royal Park in Parkville and Holland Park in Kensington. In an historic decision, Melbourne Council listened to the demands of its constituents and decided – “No Road Tunnels”. Tonight three more Councils across Melbourne, Brimbank in the West, Moonee Valley in the Inner West and Yarra in the inner North, will consider their response to the Eddington Report.

Residents and community groups are maintaining their rage and will be demanding that these Councils follow the fine precedent set by Melbourne City Council and send an unequivocal message to the Brumby Government by opposing road tunnels which, it is feared, would destroy parkland; rip up sports fields; devastate wetlands and water reserves; and destroy residential amenity, while failing to solve current traffic congestion.

Gabriella Pretto, President of the Mt Alexander Road Campaign Group (MARCG) says: “As a local resident, I am horrified that Moonee Valley Council has not yet come out and made a definite stand against the construction of road tunnels proposed in the Eddington Report. One branch of the tunnel will join CityLink. This means that there would be two lanes of traffic added over Moonee Ponds Creek and more than likely, over Travancore Park and the Essendon Hockey fields. Local residents can expect road tunnel construction noise and pollution for 5 to 10 years, as well as possible loss of parkland. The value of houses is likely to drop significantly and who would want to buy near a construction site? Flemington residents would like Moonee Valley Council to hear residents’ message - ‘No road tunnels.’ We consider that we were ‘shafted’ when CitiLink was built and we are demanding that we be listened to now. We don’t anticipate any relief from traffic congestion. Indeed, we believe that, the more freeways we have, the less likely it is that governments will spend money on improving public transport and getting more cars off our roads.”

Julianne Bell, Royal Park Protection Group (RPPG) Convenor, explains: “The huge turnout of locals and community organisations at the ‘Hands off Holland Park’ protest in Kensington just a week or so ago, as well as to the rallies at Melbourne Town Hall, plus hundreds of meetings taking place, has been testament to the growing anger throughout Melbourne. People are enraged that the Brumby Government can contemplate construction of tunnels which will not facilitate commuter traffic. Congestion on surface roads will worsen and gridlock will prevail. Why should we sacrifice our parks and residential amenity for a monster engineering project that won’t work and will cost us upwards of $10 billion?”

Led by the inimitable Rod Quantock, the MARCG and RPPG, together with other community groups, will hold a “No Tunnels” protest tonight starting at 5:30 pm outside the Moonee Valley Council at 9 Kellaway Avenue, Moonee Ponds. (Melways Map 84A D2.)

MEDIA CONTACTS: Gabriella Pretto (MARCG) on 0411060059 & Julianne Bell (RPPG) on 98184114 & Rod Quantock on 0438862079

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