Thursday, May 27, 2010

Work on the soccer pitch commences

Signs and fencing erected, for the works to commence.

What soccer pitch? Check out here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stage One of the BMX track refurbishment complete

Previously, we informed you of the City of Melbourne's intentions to raise the standard, and therefore the use of, the BMX track within JJ Holland Park.

This was to be done in two stages - first, reduce any safety issues the track currently has. Secondly, look at the viability of a redesign/repurpose.

It is pleasing to see that they've incorporated a number of the suggestions from the public meeting into their first stage - they've made the track safer, and incorporated feedback regarding the shape of jumps, and the diameter of berms.

Notice the compacted top, and the lip. (Unfortunately, this kid didn't see this as a feature. Thankfully, after I chastised him a few times, his dad came across from watching the footy and did the same).
Tighter radius turns - makes a speedy approach to jumps
Instead of mounds, there are now kickers.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Freeway not worth cost

More proof of how well the State Government does its sums with respect to their transport plan.

THE economic case for the Brumby government's top transport project is in tatters, with its own figures revealing benefits barely a third of its multibillion-dollar price tag.

The WestLink freeway, a six-lane road under Footscray and through Sunshine West, was estimated to cost $3.5 billion when the state asked Canberra to fund it in October 2008.

But a confidential submission to the Rudd government reveals estimated economic benefits that would flow from building the freeway of just $1.14 billion. This included travel-time savings of $700 million and a reduction in crash costs of $11 million.

Canberra knocked back funding despite Victoria declaring last year the freeway was its ''number one priority project'' for federal funding. The Age understands a core reason was the poor economic return on building the road.

The cost of the project has since blown out to $5 billion, although Roads Minister Tim Pallas is pressing ahead with the freeway despite not having the money to build it.

Read the whole article here -

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Déjà vu

Almost two years ago, a fight began in earnest to Save Holland park from destruction (certainly temporarily, but potentially for all time) by its use as a staging area for the development of the East-West tunnel, a recommendation from the oft-called 'Eddington Report'.

The idea was that the park could be used as the major construction point to create the tunnel. Through overwhelming community support, in addition to support from our representatives at all three levels of government, (and a little help from the Global Finanical Crisis probably didn't hurt), the proposal was defeated.

In its Victorian Transport Plan, the East-West Link tunnel was not an option, and it was specifically stated that JJ Holland Park would be left as is.

However, there have been some stirrings of another spectre.

The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel Stage 1 - (link to official site) - plans to provide a new rail link from Footscray, underground to the Hospital/University district north of the CBD, linking with the City Loop at Flinders St, and potentially Melbourne Central, and eventually going to Domain and Caulfield as part of Stage 2.

The Kensington Association, in their newsletter reports :

Agenda Item 6 – Victorian Government Transport Plan

Matt Hammond reported on a recent meeting where several matters relevant to Kensington were raised. The plan includes a new set of rail lines from North Melbourne to Footscray to increase the capacity of the route for country trains. The tracks would be sited on the Dynon Road side of the existing lines, therefore there should be little impact on Kensington. However, the route of the proposed new Footscray-Parkville-Domain underground metro railway is potentially of concern. It appears that the route may be overground from Footscray to South Kensington, then branching into an underground tunnel portal at South Kensington, posing a similar threat to the aborted East-West road tunnel project. Depending on track alignment, it is possible that a proposal requiring the use of Holland Park as a tunnel entrance, or compulsory acquisition of some housing in South Kensington for the rail tunnel entrance could be reasonably envisaged. It was agreed that the Association would maintain a watching brief on the transport plan.

(My bold)

We will be watching this too. And we suggest you do likewise. The official site does not mention anything yet. The State Government, through Bronwyn Pike's direct influence, categorically stated that JJ Holland Park would remain untouched. However, we do all know how governments change their minds. And the current state government do not have a good track record with listing to the wishes of the public.

(NOTE: The recent tree removal within JJ Holland Park is for the expansion of the Soccer pitch, and has nothing to do with the above).