Thursday, December 11, 2008

Park saved from tunnel for good, Pike tells residents - Melbourne Times

Bianca Hall

KENSINGTON'S JJ Holland Park will never be used for a freeway staging post, Melbourne MLA Bronwyn Pike has promised.

The Victorian Government released its long-awaited $38.5 billion transport blueprint on Monday, in response to Sir Rod Eddington's east-west transport plan.

Sir Rod controversially recommended the Government construct a road tunnel and freeway between the Western Ring Road and Eastern Freeway, using Royal Park in Parkville and JJ Holland Park as staging posts.

In July, Ms Pike invited Premier John Brumby to tour JJ Holland Park, which is heavily used by housing estate residents and sporting community groups.

"Being able to bring the Premier down in person and getting him to see what the park means in person was a real turning point," she said.

The promise was welcomed by Save Holland Park campaigner Cory Boardman. "I'm ecstatic that it does mention JJ Holland Park by name - I think the community's really got behind this."

But the Government committed to constructing a road tunnel from Footscray to the Port of Melbourne, and it has indicated it intends to build a road from the port to the Eastern Freeway in the future.

The blueprint also includes a plan to investigate south-bound overpasses on Hoddle Street at Johnston Street, Victoria Street, Bridge Road and Swan Street to relieve congestion off the Eastern Freeway at Clifton Hill.

Richard MLA Richard Wynne said the transport plan closely resembled his submission to the Eddington inquiry, placing emphasis on public transport over roads.

Chief among public projects is a rail tunnel between Footscray and the Domain, at a cost of more than $4.5 billion. The Government plans to begin construction of the section between Footscray and Flinders Street first - probably by the middle of the next decade.

Transcribed from The Melbourne Times

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