Hobsons Bay council has lashed out at the state government over its West Gate Tunnel project, saying it has pitted residents north and south of the bridge against each other over truck bans.
The council wants trucks banned in Blackshaws Road, Hudsons Road, High Street, Mason Street and Kororoit Creek Road east of Millers Road, to stop toll-dodgers from the new truck-only tolled section of the West Gate Freeway.
It also wants an exemption for the proposed truck ban along Francis Street, Yarraville, for a handful of eastbound trucks travelling to and from the Spotswood industrial precinct.
Greens’ councillor Jonathon Marsden said the state government had used a “divide and conquer strategy” to pit the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) against Spotswood residents.
“There’s a lack of transparency in community relations which leads to infighting among the various stakeholders, and we see that, evidently, between MTAG and the Spotswood residents,” he said.
Cr Angela Altair said: “The poor old communities, because they’re trying to protect their own patch, are almost at loggerheads with each other”.
“It’s grossly unfair,” she said. “Overall, I think it’s been a very demoralising exercise.
“Sometimes you’ve got to wonder, whose side are these governments on?”
Cr Peter Hemphill said Transurban should fund new rooms for Spotswood football and cricket clubs and Westgate Golf Club, which were impacted by the project.
“I think they [Transurban] are going to be the biggest beneficiaries of all this,” he said.
“I think they’re going to be making a killing out of this, and it’s only fair that they compensate us for the damage that they’re going to do in our local community.”
Spotswood Football Club president and Spotswood Sporting Club board member Alan Given posted on Facebook that it was disappointing to hear suggestions on social media that they had been “complicit” in regards to the project.
He posted that the club was talking about this back in 2015, trying to garner community support for McLean Reserve and the preservation of local sports clubs.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan confirmed to Star Weekly that a shared clubroom would be funded as part of the project.
“Our local sports clubs are a vital part of our community and they’ll continue to operate while the West Gate Tunnel is being built.”