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Yarra’s Edge tram bridge outrage

01 Oct 2013

Yarra’s Edge tram bridge outrage Image

The State Government faces opposition from the Yarra’s Edge community over a proposal to build a tram bridge connecting Docklands with Fishermans Bend.

The proposed bridge, featured in the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area draft vision released by Places Victoria last month and the Access Docklands plan, published in April, would extend from Collins St across the river through Yarra’s Edge.

A concept plan featured in the Access Docklands plan shows the bridge landing at Yarra’s Edge and the tram track cutting through Point Park, the only green space at Yarra’s Edge, then continuing on between Mirvac’s Array and Yarra Point towers.  

Assuming the bridge does not open, tall boats moored at Marina YE would effectively be locked in.

“As the primary public transport route to and through the Fishermans Bend precinct, the new civic spine will become a ‘main street’ and focus for intensive development and activity,” the Fishermans Bend draft vision states.

Although the bridge is only a proposal at this stage, Marina YE boat owners and Yarra’s Edge residents are growing increasingly concerned about the likelihood the bridge will go ahead.

Marina YE tenants committee chair Philip Lack said the wording of the draft vision suggested it would happen sooner rather than later.

He said he would oppose any low-level bridge that would restrict access to the marina.

Mr Lack’s yacht is berthed at Marina YE and he said with its 18-metre mast wouldn’t be able to make it under the bridge.  He said limited land availability for run-up meant the bridge would be low.

“It [the proposed bridge] would severely restrict, not only boats in our marina, but also other boats using the river,” Mr Lack said.

He said the committee would be making submissions on the Fishermans Bend draft vision.

South Wharf resident Kim Rea has purchased an apartment in the Array development at Yarra’s Edge and said he had already made a submission to Places Victoria outlining his concerns.

“Many of us have purchased our apartments in the Yarra’s Edge precinct for the marina perspective,” Mr Rea said in his submission.

“Boat lovers are just as, if not more, numerous than boat owners and we will all share disappointment if the Fishermans Bend vision does indeed require the removal of vessels from the Yarra.”

Mr Rea suggested alternative options for public transport links with Fishermans Bend including a tunnel, a connection with the existing Port Melbourne line, or a link with the Collins St line, by running the tramline along Lorimer St and then across the Charles Grimes Bridge.

Mr Rea also questioned the proposal to build a cycling and pedestrian bridge beneath the Bolte Bridge, which was first raised in the Access Docklands strategy.

“But, with bridging the Yarra being raised again with Fishermans Bend it raises a serious question about who is seeking to continue the enthusiasm for more bridges across the Yarra to again curtail a boating presence in this waterway,” Mr Rea said.

“Docklands without any boats docking would be a serious planning anachronism.”

Planning Minister Matthew Guy told Docklands News that the bridge was more than 20 years off being built.

Mr Guy said in the meantime, a spur from the Port Melbourne tramline would service Fishermans Bend.

Mr Guy said issues such as the height of the bridge and whether it would open were yet to be determined but would be considered in order to ensure boats could pass through.

Although the planning minister said the bridge was 20 years off, according to Cameron Brenton from Places Victoria a tram link between Collins St and Yarra’s Edge would be in place within the next five to 10 years.

Speaking at the Docklands Community Forum on September 25, Mr Brenton said an engineering solution to allow boat access hadn’t been determined at this point.

He said options to be considered could include a tunnel or an opening bridge.

Mr Brenton invited the Docklands community to join in the public consultation process for the Fishermans Bend project.

A project kiosk will operate at Places Victoria from Monday to Wednesday between 9am and 5pm until November 22.

A community information forum will be held at The Hub on Thursday, October 10 from 1pm to 3pm.

You can view the draft vision for Fishermans Bend at http://www.fishermansbend.vic.gov.au

You can provide feedback by completing an online survey at the Fishermans Bend website, by emailing (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by sending submissions to Places Victoria, GPO Box 2428, Melbourne, 3001.

Public comments and submissions close on November 22 and release of the final structure plan is expected early next year.

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