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FOOTSCRAY residents needlessly endured weeks of massively noisy night-time rail work near their homes because authorities neglected to tell them that temporary hotel accommodation was available.
The authority in charge of building a new railway line through Melbourne's west pledged at community meetings earlier this year that residents seriously affected by heavy construction works on the $5.3 billion regional rail link could opt to be put up in a nearby hotel.
But that offer was left off an information leaflet that the regional rail link alliance issued to affected residents and businesses last month, which referred only to an information line that could be called ''should you have any questions or concerns about … our work''.
Nick Fahey, a spokesman for residents group Fair-Go for Footscray, said many residents had not known of the hotel offer until just two weeks ago.
''We were assured at meetings attended by RRL people over many months that during the construction phase everybody would be well looked after, that people could be relocated to hotels or serviced apartments on nights that were going to be too noisy,'' Mr Fahey said.
But at a meeting two weeks ago, Mr Fahey said, ''all but two of 20 residents didn't know that they could be relocated''.
The alliance has since made explicit the accommodation offer in another notice it issued earlier this month.
Regional Rail Link Authority spokesman Simon Breer said the Footscray works had to be conducted at night when trains are not running.
Mr Breer said ''approximately 10 to 15 residents have been relocated for short periods of a night or two, through the Footscray area as part of the recent night works''.
Hotel stays were offered ''through individual consultation on a case-by-case basis where the work planned is likely to be highly intrusive, especially over a prolonged period''.
But construction worker Greg Price, whose home backs onto the railway line, says he lobbied for months. ''The offer of accommodation was only made to me after months and months of whingeing.''
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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