Community design solutions for the North East Link need consideration in the development of a final design says Eastern Metro MP Rod Barton.
Mr Barton asked Planning Minister Richard Wynne to ensure the SMART taxpayer design be given consideration by bidders.
“No one questions the need for this road, but it’s vital the community has input into the final design and their suggestions to mitigate issues been considered,” Mr Barton said.
The SMART Taxpayer Design, which was presented to the North East Link IAC panel last week, proposes a simplier M80 ring road interchange; extending tunnels north of Lower Plenty Road under Watsonia Hill; diverting the north end of Greensborough Road over the rail alignment; and removing the interchange at Lower Plenty Road – at this point in time.
“There are implications in costs and timelines from their suggestions, I have no doubt.
“But there are also great benefits in having community options for this very important piece of infrastructure carefully considered by bidders as the create the final designs.”
Mr Barton raised criticism of the community consultation process to date, expressing a general feeling among those most interested and impacted by the North East Link that the community consultation has been more of a marketing and education process than a two way conversation aimed at achieving the best outcome.
“I have yet to meet a resident or business that doesn’t agree with me, and with the government, that this road is a much needed project.
“However, despite the current hearing process, there is concern that the community is expected to accept the draft design and get on with it,” he said.
Mr Barton asked the minister to guarantee that the needs of the community and their input be incorporated into the actual road that is built for the North East Link.