No reprieve for Royal Park


By Gordon Ley, Parkville resident

Planning Minister Guy's recent decision to grant conditional approval for the East-West Link has been hailed by some as a reprieve for Royal Park. In my opinion, this is clearly not the case.  

Yes, the Minister has said that he will delete the Elliott Avenue interchange. In fact, the interchange is just to be moved slightly, to a position "near to Flemington Road", obviously still in the Park.
Every other element which threatened Royal Park is still part of the grand plan; destruction of Ross Straw Field and the Wetlands, cut and cover across the Park and huge, protracted construction works in and around the Park.
If anything, the situation is worse than before. The substantial new elements will be designed behind closed doors, presumably by the Linking Melbourne Authority and its tenderers; to the approval of the Minister.
How can the state government, acting in good faith, rush headlong into contracts for the construction of this huge and controversial project, while it still remains largely undefined? If you want to give an advantage to other parties in a commercial negotiation, let them know that you do not know exactly what you want and that you are under a very tight time constraint to sign a contract.

The other day at Royal Park, I counted 48 red-rumped parrots (an unusually large gathering of this understated iconic bird of the Park). They were excitedly grazing together on soon-to-be-bulldozed Ross Straw Field. Sadly, I thought "You should be very afraid."







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