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A SKY rail that towers over neighbouring homes could be built in Essendon, with a Moonee Valley councillor privy to discussions saying it is “definitely an option”.
The State Government has signed contracts for a sky rail in the southeastern suburbs, fuelling fears the controversial design could be used for Essendon’s level crossing removal.
Moonee Valley Council will write to the State Government to emphasise its strong opposition to elevated rail options in its plan for a grade separation at Buckley St.
Councillor Narelle Sharpe said a sky rail option would “destroy Essendon” and was something residents would not accept.
“There’s no doubt that council is privy to more information than residents are. I can’t say exactly what’s been in the conversations but I can say that (sky rail) is definitely an option, there’s no doubt about that,” Cr Sharpe said.
“I don’t think residents understand how seriously it is being entertained.”
The council’s concerns comes after the State Government signed contracts for a sky rail project to remove nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong despite community objections.
Labor state MPs Ben Caroll and Danny Pearson at level crossing. Picture: Andrew HenshawEssendon state Labor MP Danny Pearson said a number of designs would be explored over the complicated Buckley St grade separation including rail-over-road, road-over-rail and road-under-rail options.
“The process hasn’t formally commenced. It would be premature to rule things in or out at this stage, Mr Pearson said.
“The reality is that the community and council need to be extensively consulted in relation to this project and in order make sure they can have their say in relation to the various options.”
Level Crossing Removal Authority project director Steve Brown said geotechnical works had started, to help understand the ground conditions before any design options were developed.
“We are in the early planning stages for the Buckley St level crossing and no decisions have been made about the designs for its removal,” Mr Brown said.
RELATED: Buckley St level crossing in Essendon will be removed
RELATED: Moonee Valley Council wants Essendon grade separation on State Government agenda
The matter was raised at a Moonee Valley Council meeting last week but the move to write to state ministers was not supported by Labor-aligned councillors Nicole Marshall, Shirley Cornish and Jan Chantry.
Cr Marshall said while she agreed sky rail was not the right option, she feared coming out strongly would undermine their position in the decision-marking process.
“How can we say we strongly oppose documents we haven’t even seen? I think the problem is we will potentially be sidelined,” she said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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