Council questioned on City Rd

The Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) has slammed the City of Melbourne for not allocating more funding towards the City Road Master Plan in its latest 2019/20 council budget.

SRA President Tony Penna also complained of a lack of communication at the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on June 13: “Some communication is all we’re asking for”.

“In our submission we got a response from council officers saying there was a $5 million investment in City Rd, yet I can only find mention in the budget of $500,000, which I believe is the dog park,” he said.

“Please tell me where the item is for the other $4.5 million because I certainly couldn’t find it.”

Mr Penna said the City Road Master Plan will soon be three years behind schedule. He said the SRA received three commitments from the FMC last year:

To put forward all aspects of the City Road Master Plan design documentation to the 2019/2020 budget for completion.

The inclusion of a further $500,000 in the budget to fund the City Rd signalised pedestrian crossing.

To update or replace the Shape Your Southbank online portal with detailed information regarding the progress of all Southbank projects.

He said these three commitments have not been met. If the second partly has been, he said he could “be forgiven for thinking it hasn’t” because it hasn’t been communicated as outlined in the third.

“You’ll recall the big issue I was making last year was about communication, or lack thereof, hence that’s why the resolution came about,” he said.

Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood responded to say the council was investing hugely in Southbank.

“He flies the flag for Southbank, as he should, but we’re really undertaking one of the largest investments in the history of Southbank.”

“We like Tony’s passion for Southbank, but I’d say we’re investing hugely in Southbank, as we should, acknowledging the City Road Master Plan has been pushed back, but largely these projects are pushed back because of the ongoing disruption in our city,” he said.

“We never want to get to a situation where City of Melbourne just ploughs ahead with a project without taking into account the disruption that’s going on around it.”

“I’m confident the City Road Master Plan will be better for it, but rest assured that councillors and the City of Melbourne are well and truly supportive of the City Road Master Plan.”

Cr Wood said there were plenty of projects being developed in Southbank.

“Whether it’s the Boyd Community Centre, whether it’s the new Boyd open space, whether it’s the upgrade of Southbank Promenade to the tune of $5 million, which will hugely increase the ability of people to have that open space, or whether it’s investment in Southbank Boulevard, which is $30 million.”

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