It’s important to get the Mentone and Cheltenham Level Crossing removal works right. That means a fair dinkum consultation with the local community.
So why have final designs been unveiled and contracts been awarded without a meeting of the Community Reference Group having taken place?
Earlier this year, the Andrews Labor Government appointed a Cheltenham and Mentone Community Reference Group for the level crossing removal project. The LXRA have stated that these groups will assist by providing a local perspective, particularly in relation to project design and minimising construction impacts on local communities.
Both community reference groups have been ignored.
- This week’s announcement raises more questions for the Mentone and Cheltenham communities than it answers, including:
- Why has the Community Reference Groups not been consulted on these plans?
- Why has a meeting of the Community Reference Group not been convened?
- Why were the Friends of Mentone Station and Gardens not consulted about the final designs and why have they not been briefed on this announcement?
- Why was Kingston Council not briefed on these plans before they were released?
- Why was Bayside Council not briefed on these plans before they were released?
- Will there be additional car parks built at both stations to cater for our increasing population, or will the amount of car park space remain at the status quo?
- Why has the Warrigal Road intersection not been included as part of the Mentone level crossing removal works?
- Has Heritage Victoria been consulted about and agreed to these ‘final designs’ for Mentone Station? If not, how can the Government claim that they are in fact ‘final designs’?
- How does the Government propose to preserve the heritage features of Cheltenham Station?
- With reference to the Government’s Suburban rail loop, will there be a duplication of construction works if grade separation works now proceed at Cheltenham?
- What guarantee can the government give that their announced project time-frame is accurate and has a time-frame requirement been built into the awarded contracts?
For more than four years, residents and traders at Cheltenham and Mentone have had nothing but uncertainty around the level crossing removal works and this week’s announcement only adds to this uncertainty.
It is one thing to produce a glossy artist’s impression of what the stations may look like, it’s another thing to do the right thing by the community and properly consult to get this project right.