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ANGRY residents living next to sky rail in Melbourne’s southeast say they have no choice but to endure construction chaos then packed trains whizzing past their windows — because government offers for their homes are derisory.
Some families in Carnegie eligible to sell their properties to the state as a result of the $1.6 billion project say they have been offered up to $100,000 less than valuations.
One homeowner, among many fed up with 18 months of noisy work to build the 3.2km section of elevated track, was told his low offer was because “Merric Lane is the worst location in Carnegie”.
Skyrail works along Merric Lane in Carnegie come incredibly close to houses. Picture: Alex Coppel
Skyrail close to homes in Merric Lane, Carnegie. Picture: Alex CoppelThe row comes as new bird’s eye view photographs show the scale of the whole project on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, allowing the removal of nine level crossings.
Four townhouses in Merric Lane, which borders the track, were deemed eligible for compensation under the government’s voluntary purchase scheme. Three owners rejected government offers ranging from $800,000 to $840,000 — at least $100,000 less than independent valuers’ assessments, backed by a local estate agent. The fourth owner agreed to sell for $780,000.
Daniel Tran rejected the state offer of $840,000 for his three-bedroom property.
“Three independent valuers valued my place and my two neighbours’ houses between $895,000 to $930,000,” Mr Tran said.
“But the government told me it was the worst location in Carnegie, they felt obliged to significantly under- value our houses.”
Agent Sam Singh, from Ray White, said $940,000 to $980,000 was a realistic valuation of each. “When sky rail is finished, it could be quite a desirable location as it’s close to schools, cafes and the station. You just need vision,” he said.
Carnegie residents Amos Hunt, Peter Gray and Chelsie Dickson. Picture: Alex Coppel.David Davis, opposition spokesman for public transport, said: “Daniel Andrews’ voluntary purchase scheme is a shambles, with hard-pressed residents offered far less than what was true market value before the sky rail was foisted upon them.”
The government says sky rail will ease congestion and allow it to run more trains on Victoria’s busiest rail corridor.
Level Crossing Removal Authority project director Brett Summers said the scheme gave residents closest to the rail corridor the option of whether to stay in their homes or move away.
“Many residents tell us they are keen to stay, given they will soon have access to less congested roads, better public transport, and new parks and cycle paths at their doorstep,” Mr Summers said.
Skyrail viaduct sections being lowered into place works in Merric Lane, Carnegie.
And the work continues at night, metres away from residents.Several criteria applies to determine whether properties are eligible to be included in the voluntary purchase scheme, including sharing a property boundary with the rail corridor, being used for residential purposes, and whether the property is subject to significant overshadowing.
Our photos show a 35-tonne two-storey “straddle carrier” working less than 4m from some homes as it puts beams on pillars 10m high.
More than 1000 workers are on the project, with the workforce to double during peak construction period.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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