The state government has agreed to stump up just under half of the $12.5 million sought by Maribyrnong council to offset the impact of the West Gate Tunnel toll-road project.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan last week announced a $6 million package for riverside improvements in Footscray on top of $5 million for Hobsons Bay described by Hobsons Bay Residents Association as “hush money”.
Maribyrnong council has consistently backed the $6.7 billion project, but raised a number of concerns about the impact of three new river crossings on its attempts to beautify its waterfront.
Hobsons Bay withdrew its opposition to the project, prompting claims it was throwing “communities under the bus” in exchange for undertakings including a traffic study and sports ground upgrades.
Maribyrnong council’s response to the tollway’s environment effects statement highlighted “the detrimental visual and amenity impacts” the project would have on the Footscray Wharf area.
The Planning Institute of Australia’s response was also critical of the “large new bridge structures” crossing the Maribyrnong River and the tollway’s impact on the
Mr Donnellan said the $6 million would help implement the Maribyrnong River Master Plan, including an upgrade to the Footscray Wharf and promenade.
Adopted in 2014, the plan includes a timber wharf and boardwalk with public moorings, an avenue of palm trees, improved lighting, seating and shelters.
Maribyrnong mayor Cuc Lam said the $6 million will help offset the loss of amenity, but that the council was yet to determine the elements of the plan that would proceed.
“We have, and will continue to, advocate for positive community outcomes as we believe the project has benefits for our community as it will remove trucks from our residential streets.”