Yarra Council questions Chandler Highway decision
4 February 2016
Yarra City Council has questioned the State Government and VicRoads' decision on the widening of Chandler Highway to six lanes, and will seek to explore whether this decision has been in breach of the Transport Integration Act (2009).
In a motion, carried unanimously Tuesday night (2 February) in its first meeting for 2016, Council noted that "the decision appears to fail to adhere to the stated aims of the Transport Integration Act (2009)", and in addition has called "on the Minister for Roads to release the business case for the project".
Council also moved to receive a report at the next council meeting on the merits of applying to the Governor in Council for a dispute resolution process.
Yarra Mayor Cr Roberto Colanzi has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, and the member for Northcote, Fiona Richardson, to convey Council's continued opposition to this project in its current form.
"It is disappointing that the views of residents and Council appear to have been ignored," said Mayor Colanzi. "We've also advocated for public transport to be included."
Full Council resolution from 2 February 2016:
1) That Council:
(a) note the VicRoads recommendation to the State Government on January 13th 2016, of its preferred option for widening the Chandler Highway, including a new six lane wide bridge on the west side of the current bridge and the subsequent State Government announcement on 28 January that it will adopt this option;
(b) note the significant and ongoing opposition to this option, from residents directly affected in West Alphington and surrounds; and
(c) note the Council's position from its 20th October 2015 resolution is that it:
(i) does not support a proposal for a six lane Chandler Highway widening or a six lane bridge which will encourage traffic, result in increased levels of congestion and cause environmental damage and air pollution, amongst other detrimental impacts; and
(ii) supports a road and bridge design that:
(a) primarily provides practical options for integrated public transport and better mobility for local residents requiring transport across the Yarra River; and
(b) builds-in future proofing design options for the construction of the Doncaster Rail; and
(d) while acknowledging the willingness of the Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan to meet with residents, Ward Councillors and Yarra Officers to hear these concerns, expresses disappointment that these concerns have not been reflected in the State Government's final decision to build this option (VicRoads recommendation to the State Government);
(e) notes that the traffic modelling on which this decision is based reflects as a "Business as Usual" scenario of continued priority on roads to motor vehicles which is contrary to one of VicRoads stated aims to "develop a more integrated and sustainable road transport system";
(f) notes that the decision appears to fail to adhere to the stated aims of the Transport Integration Act (2009);
(g) calls on the Minister for Roads to release the business case for the project in the interests of transparency; and
(h) once more, call on the State Government to:
(i) respond to the concerns of residents on the west side of the proposal who would bear the brunt of the current "preferred option"; and
(ii) produce a new design which protects amenity of existing residents to the west, protects the Yarra Corridor habitat and environs, moves people rather than just vehicles across the Yarra River and provides genuine options for local commuters, in particular, the construction of the Doncaster Rail.
2) That the Mayor arrange an urgent meeting with the Minster for Roads and the Member for Northcote to convey Council's continued opposition to this project in its current form, to request the release of the business case and to urge the State Government to review its decision in line with Council's position.
3) That council receive a report at the next council meeting on the merits of applying to the Governor in Council for a dispute resolution process as provided for in s9 of the Local Government Act.
4) That the Mayor write to all councillors in Darebin, Banyule and Boroondara Councils and inform them of this resolution.
5) Council officers report back as soon as possible as to the viability of a legal review of the Minister's decision. Possible grounds to be investigated include his failure to take the following relevant information into account: residential impacts, environmental impacts, reasonable alternative options, and considerations under the Transport Integration Act.
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