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Victory for Community Advocacy

February 20, 2017

Today marks a victory for community advocacy and the fierce opposition to the potential impact of Labor’s Skyrail proposals on the Frankston line.

Grade separation will be engineered through a rail under road solution at three level crossings at Charman Road and Park Road in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.

Matters to still be determined include just compensation for property owners, fair treatment for affected business owners whose livelihoods are likely to be massively impacted by the works in Cheltenham and Mentone and the heritage treatment and conservation of the historic Cheltenham and Mentone railway station buildings.

The Government has also failed to properly plan for an adequate increase in commuter car parking noting the projected population growth for Melbourne by 2050.

The original proposals for grade separation did not provide for one additional car park.

In March 2016 Murray Thompson raised a Question on Notice in the Parliament of Victoria asking the Minister for Public Transport what discussions have taken place for grade separation at Charman Road and Park Road, Cheltenham.

In response the Minister stated that “The Park Road, Cheltenham level crossing is not one of the 50 level crossings nominated for removal by the State Government.”

Mr Thompson expresses concern as to why in less than twelve months the Government has changed its course of action.

Members of the Cheltenham community have been placed at a great disadvantage as a result of the failure of the Government to properly plan and scope the original project.

Life journey decisions were made by local residents in reliance upon the Government’s statement that the Park Road level crossing is not one of the crossings nominated for removal. Now we find the Andrew’s Labor Government has created turmoil for Cheltenham families over its failure to commit to the trench option from the outset.

Any local primary school student proficient at Lego or Brio could work out that grade separation could not be done at Charman Road without it also being undertaken at Park Road without otherwise destroying half the shopping centre.

See below Murray Thompson’s Media Release from 12 December 2016:-

“ANTI-SKYRAIL RALLY AT VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT

On Wednesday the 7th December 2016 a banner protest was held on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in relation to adverse outcomes which will result from the construction of sky rail on the Dandenong/Cranbourne/Pakenham line and fears of the potential impact on the Frankston line.

Following multiple consultations the clear view of stakeholders who attended community meetings was the strong preference for a trench, cut and cover or underground option

The messages conveyed at the protest included:-

Nobody Voted for Skyrail

Skyrail=Skyfail

No elevated rail for Mentone

No elevated rail for Cheltenham

Increase commuter parking – NOW

Local traders face bankruptcy

Don’t decimate our property values

Respect and Preserve our Heritage

Frankston Line UNDERGROUND – NOT ABOVE GROUND

Save our Sandbelt – No Elevated Rail

Elevated Rail = Urban Decay

Fair Compensation for affected Businesses and Residents

Mr. Thompson called upon the Andrews’ Government to respect the wishes of the Bayside and Kingston communities and have a rail under road outcome which will better serve the community’s interests over the next 100 years.”

Media Contact: Murray Thompson (03) 9598 2688