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Council vows to support community as toll road looms
24 July 2013
Yarra Council last night voted unanimously to help local communities affected by the proposed East West Link in the wake of the State Government releasing startling design plans and videos for the proposed $8+ billion project.
Council also resolved to continue to call on the Government and Linking Melbourne Authority to release more details about the proposed East West Link as residents wait anxiously to find out how they will be affected.
Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky said many people were upset by the quality of information provided so far by the Linking Melbourne Authority (LMA).
“Since last week’s announcement, Council has fielded dozens of calls from people worried about how this toll road will affect them,” Cr Fristacky said.
“They’ve seen indicative images and cartoons about this road online or in the media but those images don’t provide detail.
“Moreover, the LMA website states that the design may still change.
“People want to know how high on-ramps might be in case vehicles will end up looking into their homes, or whether their family home is going to be in the path of bulldozers. They want to know about emissions from the air stacks, noise from increased freight, loss of open space, traffic and parking – just to name a few things.
“They are not getting that information from the Linking Melbourne Authority so they are calling Council desperate to know what we can tell them.
“Unfortunately, Council has been left in the dark just like the community.
“We have requested meetings with the Premier and the Minister for Transport and Roads, as well as lodging Freedom of Information requests, in an effort to get this information out into the public domain so people can have some certainty about what lies ahead.”
Cr Fristacky said Council would write to residents in the affected area to advise them of its opposition to the East West Link and offer them support services if needed.
“We’ll be happy to make available a Council building for residents to meet collectively, or to talk to legal advisers or counsellors,” she said.
“We’re also looking at providing supervised playgroup sessions for families who may need that kind of support when attending meetings.
“Officers will also be asking residents to help them identify vulnerable people, whether it’s for health reasons, age or disability or language barriers, so we can make sure they have the kind of support they need throughout this difficult time.”
Cr Fristacky said in her letter to the Premier and the Minister she sought immediate advice from the Linking Melbourne Authority and the State Government about the provision, timing and key State department contacts for community support and counselling services across areas of family services, youth services, aged services, housing services, health services, financial counselling and advisory services and other relevant community services to contribute to supporting and stabilising the social infrastructure of community members affected by the proposals.
“I also sought to clarify what funding is available to Council to provide additional support and counselling for affected communities across these important service areas to ensure timely and locally based responses,” she said.
More information about Council’s Social Engagement Strategy is contained in the first two reports to its recent meeting here.
To join the campaign against the toll road, vist www.trainsnottollsroads.com.au
See also “Trains Not Toll Roads Friday protests throughout August”
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