More than a decade of work to revitalise Yarraville parkland would be destroyed by a proposed new truck toll-road, according to furious residents and community groups.
Friends of Stony Creek president Steve Wilson said redrawn plans by Transurban moving a tunnel portal to within 200 metres of some homes would devastate the Hyde Street Reserve open space the group has been working tirelessly to rejuvenate.
“From what we have seen so far we are very much shocked about the whole thing,” he said.
“It will cut the park into chunks and destroy the park, which is the only public open space in this area.
“We have spent 10 years creating a park down there, it’s been a focus of a lot of community effort.”
Star Weekly last week reported plans by Transurban for six new lanes connecting the West Gate Freeway directly with Hyde Street, serving fuel tankers currently travelling along Francis Street and Williamstown Road to and from Mobil’s Yarraville fuel terminal and the Caltex Newport Terminal.
Transurban said the changes reflect feedback to its unsolicited $5.5 billion Western Distributor proposal, but residents argue it appears to be driven by cost-cutting and revenue-raising.
Concerned Locals of Yarraville spokesman Scott Ellerton, who formed the group in response to the new plans, said hundreds of people will be directly affected.
“We are concerned with the noise aspects, during construction and operation, as well as the pollution from truck fumes,” he said.
“There is a shortage of open space in the inner-west. This looks like a decision that is purely commercial.”
The group has launched an online Change.org petition against the new portal location.
Transurban’s ‘Southern portal discussion paper’ notes the relocated tunnel portal “is more straightforward to construct” and would have less impact during construction than a portal directly linking with the West Gate Freeway, as initially announced.
“While the relocated portal and addition of Hyde Street on and off ramps does not require the acquisition of any homes, it has new impacts at Hyde Street Reserve and is closer to homes and businesses in this area.
“In response to this, we have identified some new opportunities to clean up contaminated land, provide new open space to the community, remove overhead power lines and complete the Federation Trail.”
Greens federal spokeswoman for transport Janet Rice said focus should instead be on the $58 million port rail shuttle project, shelved by the state government as it pursues privatisation of the port despite its potential to remove up to 3500 trucks a day off roads.
“The federal government has already committed $38 million to the Port Rail Shuttle, so the new Prime Minister must make it clear to the Victorian government that it should be built as a priority.”