30 August 2014

A report by City of Melbourne officers to Council this coming Tuesday, called for as a result of a successful Greens motion in July this year, confirms that the East West Link planning process has reached new levels of secrecy.

The Council requested in July that the Linking Melbourne Authority consult it in the creation of the Development Plans which the Minister for Planning asked to be produced as a condition of his approval of the East West Link in June.

The Development Plans will decide the route of the East West Link down Moonee Ponds Creek, at Ross Straw Field as it intersects with CityLink, and in the replacement to the Elliott Avenue exit. In short, they will contain all of the detail – and will determine which homes will and won’t be uninhabitable.

A letter from the Linking Melbourne Authority to the Council confirms that neither the public, nor any publicly-elected representatives, will have any oversight of the determination of the route of the East West Link through the creation of the Development Plans:  “we are currently in the final stages of a confidential, competitive bidding process with the two remaining consortia who are vying to deliver the project. The preparation of these development plans is integrated into this confidential process, and therefore we are unable to collaborate with City of Melbourne” (page 4).

In short, the route of the East West Link is being drawn up now by the LMA with two profit-driven consortia, and the Council and community can sit and wait to see what they produce.

The Planning Minister will ultimately agree or disagree with the plans, and only then will the public and Council learn if Ross Straw Field will be destroyed, or if Bent Street apartments in Kensington will be uninhabitable, or if the Debney Park playground will be overshadowed, or if and exactly where there will be a new intersection on Flemington Road.

The upshot of this unprecedented secrecy is that City of Melbourne officers are recommending to the Council that it once again defer all urban renewal planning in Arden Macaulay – which straddles Kensington and North Melbourne – due to the impossibility of creating workable plans under these conditions. (The plans have been on hold since the surprise announcement of the State Government last year to build the East West Link down the Moonee Ponds Creek corridor.)

The report will be received and debated by Council at 5.30pm on Tuesday 2nd September.