A respite for residents and businesses waiting for compulsory acquisition notices from the North East Link Authority could be a blessing for some and a challenge for others according to Eastern Metro MP Rod Barton.
The Minister for Transport Infrastructure announced last week that the uncertain circumstances coronavirus had created meant those affected should sit tight, with formal acquisition notices now delayed until the end of June.
“For some people this will be sweet relief as they struggle with the day-to-day challenges of our current stage 3 restrictions, but for many others these delays in the process will just add to their stress,” said Mr Barton.
The Ministers office has said project teams are working with each individual tenant and property owner would make arrangements for those who were ready to go now and just wanted to sell up and move on as quickly as possible.
“For many of businesses in Bulleen the Covid-19 shut downs will be the end of them. Many had pinned their hopes on the Websters Road location in Templestowe, but that option is no longer on the table.
“Some just want to sell out now and get on with their new normal and we’ve been assured by the Ministers office that that option is available to them immediately,” he said.
“But for those that are keen to hang on and are pivoting their business models to survive with social distancing in place, an extra few months without the additional stress of acquisition and moving will give them time to get their business on track.”
Mr Barton said this was an incredibly stressful time for both effected residents and businesses.
“North East Link Authority must take care of effected individuals both financially and personally. To deal with the uncertainty of the disruptions of this major road project and a pandemic at the same time is beyond stressful,” he said.
“But I have faith that we are all in this together and there is genuine desire from the project team to make this as easy a transition as they possible can.”
Mr Barton said that keeping the project moving was a major priority and that large projects like the North East Link will be vital as the Victorian economy recovers from Covid-19.