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August 09 Edition Cover

Fishermans Bend bridge remains a long-term option

31 Jul 2014

Fishermans Bend bridge remains a long-term option Image

The Fishermans Bend tram bridge remains a long-term transport option, despite opposition from the Yarra’s Edge community.

The bridge was included as a possible tram route in the Fishermans Bend Strategic Plan, released on July 28, but Planning Minister Matthew Guy said there were no plans for the bridge “in the immediate term”.

“That’s a long term option, which is being given as a possible way forward and I think it should be in there,” Mr Guy said.

The bridge was mooted in the Fishermans Bend draft vision last year and was met by outcry from the Yarra’s Edge community, who formed a committee of residents and marina tenants in opposition to the proposed transport link.

“Since the draft plan was released in 2013, the entire Yarra’s Edge community, including marina and tower residents have faced increased uncertainty as to the future of their local environs, including access to the marina for all boats and the likely loss of the only green space at Point Park,” committee member Philip Lack said.

He said the committee wouldn’t be happy until the prospect of any bridge crossing between Point Park and Collins Landing was entirely removed from the strategic plan.

“We will continue to lobby hard on this as the state election approaches and will continue to highlight the immediate impact this proposal is having on our community both financially and emotionally,” Mr Lack said.

The City of Port Phillip has been campaigning for the tram bridge to go ahead and Mayor Amanda Stevens welcomed its inclusion at the launch of the strategic framework plan.

“We are delighted with the inclusion of the proposed Collins St tram extension to the strategic framework plan,” Cr Stevens said.

“Early delivery of new tram, walk and bike links is key to encouraging developers to invest in a high-quality, job-creating mix of commercial, retail and residential property.”

The council had even gone so far as commissioning a possible design for the bridge and spoke to Docklands News about why the council was pushing for the transport link before the release of the strategic framework plan.

Cr Stevens said the City of Port Phillip was pushing for the tram bridge in order to ensure the development was not car-based.

According to Cr Stevens, a cost-benefit analysis of seven possible options performed by Places Victoria when preparing the Fishermans Bend draft vision indicated the tram bridge was the best public transport option.

She said the council was advocating for the bridge based on this evidence.

The Metropolital Planning Authority (MPA) is the current authority for Fishermans Bend and a spokesperson said the Government had investigated a range of public transport options for Fishermans Bend and said these would be presented to the public once they were further developed.

The spokesperson did not confirm if a cost-benefit analysis had indicated the bridge to be the best public transport option.

Cr Stevens said the council was committed to working with the group at Yarra’s Edge and hoped to clarify assumptions around the potential design of the bridge.

According to Cr Stevens, one assumption is that the bridge would destroy Point Park, but she said the council supported a link that would enhance green space via a “green bridge”.

The council’s design for the bridge, shows grass, trees and plantings.

Cr Stevens also said the bridge would benefit Docklands by making it the centre, rather than end, of the CBD.

“I think there’s an opportunity here to build a bridge that would enhance access to the CBD, enhance property values and allow access to the marina,” Cr Stevens said.

But according to Mr Lack, the bridge proposal alone was already negatively affecting Yarra’s Edge, with no berth sales in the marina since the bridge was mooted and information about the proposed bridge required to be in all section 32 notices for apartments sold in the area.

“It’s already having a direct economic impact,” Mr Lack said.

Mr Lack maintains there are alternative options for public transport to Fishermans Bend, including the Montague Station, which received funding in the recent State Budget.

According to Planning Minister Matthew Guy, Fishermans Bend will initially be served by a spur from the 109 tramline.

“I think in the first instance we can get a spur from the 109 tram through the developer contributions, which are quite sizable, as you can imagine, and we can do that fairly promptly,” he said.

The City of Melbourne has been measured in its approach to the bridge proposal and hasn’t lobbied against it.

While Cr Stevens last month said the bridge was Port Phillip Council’s “number one state election priority”, the City of Melbourne made no promises to lobby against the bridge.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said lobbying against the bridge was not a state election priority for the council.

However, councillors did endorse a motion in November last year seeking further investigation of design options to ensure the bridge did not impede access to and from Yarra’s Edge marina.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has also been outspoken about City of Port Phillip design, saying: “The aesthetics of this design are terrible.”

Speaking at the launch of the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan, City of Melbourne CEO Kathy Alexander said there were a “a few issues to iron out”, including the design of the proposed bridge.

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