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Some things just sure are meant to be

Locals “quite comfortable” with tram bridge

05 Oct 2017

By Sean Car

The Liberal Party’s new candidate for the seat of Albert Park and sitting City of Port Phillip councillor Andrew Bond says he doesn’t believe Yarra’s Edge residents have an issue with a proposed Fishermans Bend tram bridge.

Having served on council since 2012, Cr Bond was formally announced as the party’s new candidate to compete against sitting Labor member Martin Foley in next year’s state election.

With Fishermans Bend shaping as a hot election topic, he told Docklands News he was confident that the proposed tram bridge through Yarra’s Edge would not be a divisive election topic for local residents.

He largely based his view on a Melbourne Cup weekend experience in 2013, when, he said, he and City of Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss spent a day speaking with local residents and boat owners.

“At the time we knew nothing about any opposition to the proposed tram bridge. It was thrust upon us really so we thought there was no better way to find out than to go down and speak to people ourselves,” he said. “Bernadene and I stood outside the most impacted buildings and introduced ourselves to residents coming out the buildings. Most people initially said they didn’t want it [the bridge] but when we showed them the artist’s impression of how it would look everyone was pleasantly surprised. People were generally supportive, particularly for improving access for trams, pedestrians and cyclists.”

He said the proposed bridge would be designed so it could be opened to allow larger boats to pass through to the marina.

However, Cr Bond also claimed that, at the time, there were a very small number of boats that would not be able to fit under the bridge’s proposed six-metre clearance.

“Many people expressed concerns about boats accessing the marina and those same discussions are where the draw bridge idea came from,” he said.

“At the time, we counted 15 boats parked in the marina that wouldn’t have been able to fit under a tram bridge with a clearance of six metres so most boats would have made it.”

“Many owners of these boats said they might take them out once every six months.”

Yarra’s Edge resident Phil Spender strongly refuted claims that local residents supported the proposal.

“Currently there is no proposal on the table to get comfortable with or otherwise,” Mr Spender said. “When the then new Planning Minister, Richard Wynne announced Fishermans Bend was to be recast. He specifically withdrew all reference to transport planning from the previously announced Fishermans Bend Framework. Presently, there is no transport plan , but a new one is anticipated, together with the announcement of the new framework and public consultation to follow.

Upon checking the Fishermans Bend website that is described as the next step so hopefully it will happen soon.”

“I suggest your readers register on the Fishermans Bend website to obtain the latest information, which isn’t available yet, so all the communities involved can deal with the planning issues and opportunities that will arise.”

The City of Port Phillip has long advocated for a tram bridge through Yarra’s Edge to Fishermans Bend as a vital public transport link with the CBD.

In February last year, it made a submission to a parliamentary committee inquiry claiming the early delivery of the tram extension would unlock up to $200 million in state and local government revenue. The submission relied largely on a 2014 report by AECOM, which the council commissioned.

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said the independent report had found early delivery of the $300 million Collins St tram extension could result in a $1.1 billion uplift in the value of Fishermans Bend land.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said publicly last year that the government had “ruled out” the tram bridge when in opposition, however it is still yet to provide an alternative viable transport solution.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has stated on the Fishermans Bend website that the next stage of the Fishermans Bend Framework plan is to be released this spring.

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