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).

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