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Trees to go for Metro

12 Jul 2016

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In its response to the Melbourne Metro Rail project’s environmental effects statement (EES), the City of Melbourne has expressed concerns about the loss of trees along St Kilda Rd.

According to the statement, which was released last month by the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA), 475 trees will be affected by the project many of which lie within the new Domain Station precinct.

In its submission, which went before council at the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on July 5, council highlighted that the EES proposal was at odds with its desire to retain trees wherever possible.

“The quantity of trees that is likely to be lost is something that is very concerning and the MMRA has said to us and we’ve said back to them that we must assess the value of each and every tree,” Cr Rohan Leppert said.

“We must make sure that every single tree has got a plan in place and that every option has been looked at to make sure that trees can be retained where possible. That’s all we can ask for and that’s all we do.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said MMRA CEO Evan Tattersall and his team had been very responsive to the council’s concerns and that both organisations would mitigate tree loss one by one.

“Noise and vibration, the tunnel alignment below the Domain Precinct and there are 475 trees affected within the City of Melbourne and, okay, about half of them are either juvenile or end of life but, nevertheless, it is almost a tree-by-tree negotiation,” he said.

“This touches something like 26 policy documents and strategies for the City of Melbourne so it reaches into all of our business. Evan Tattersall and his team have been remarkably co-operative with the city.”

The submission also stated that the siting, design and scale of the Domain Station should be modified to reflect projected use and to reduce adverse visual impacts.

It suggests achieving this by creating a co-location of structures and siting the station’s entrance further to the east on Domain Rd.

It also notes that the project provides an opportunity to create a St Kilda Rd master plan in collaboration with relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Council has also stated that it doesn’t support the MMRA’s proposed tunnel boring launch sites in Fawkner Park due to loss of open space and impacts to the local community child care centre and senior citizens club.

Council has stated that it wishes to work with the MMRA to facilitate a construction management plan that wouldn’t require the occupation of Fawkner Park.

Overall, Cr Leppert said the submission was a remarkable document that accurately spelt out the city’s position on the project.

“The metro rail is something that the City of Melbourne has long advocated for. It is City of Melbourne policy that this project, in this form, in this route should be built,” he said.

“Any EES process is always going to be one of finding out what can be improved upon and so the perception that this report is just a list of things that we’re finding that are wrong misses the broader point.”

“The metro project is going to be absolutely vital to city’s future and this council supports it whole heartedly.”

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