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Editions

Tram bridge could be making a comeback

25 Oct 2016

Tram bridge could be making a comeback Image

By Shane Scanlan

Docklanders opposed to a tram bridge connecting Victoria Harbour with Fishermans Bend should be alarmed that the concept is back on the agenda.

The Labor Party ruled out the bridge before the last state election, but is coming under increasing pressure to reverse its position.

The recently-released Fishermans Bend final vision document speaks openly about the need to link the new urban renewal area with Docklands and the CBD via river crossings.

On page 24 of the new “recast” vision document, it says: “River crossings for walking, cycling and public transport continue the legacy of connecting Melbourne – linking Fishermans Bend to Docklands, the CBD, and further afield to the renewal areas around North and West Melbourne.”

It goes on to say: “Additional studies are also looking at river crossings, car parking and water transport options.”

Diagrams with the vision document show more than one transport connection across the river into Docklands and beyond.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne is acutely aware that the tram bridge, which threatens the viability of Marina YE is against government policy.

In February this year he told a public forum: “That’s been ruled out. It was ruled out before the last election by us in opposition.”

“We will be coming up with proposals for how we address a light-rail link, just not that one,” Mr Wynne said.

Following the release of the final vision document, he was asked specifically by Docklands News on October 6 whether he continued to rule out the bridge.

Mr Wynne replied: “We are looking at a range of options in terms of how you get public transport into Fishermans Bend.”

“It’s a very thin peninsula of land.  Think of how you come over the Charles Grimes Bridge and you want to turn right into Lorimer. It’s a very difficult intersection there to get into Fishermans Bend.”

“One of the options is obviously to come over the Charles Grimes Bridge.  One of the other options that is being obviously looked at is potentially a rail bridge as well. But we’ve got a fair way to go.”

Later, a ministerial spokesperson supplied this unsolicited, but crafted, answer attributable to Mr Wynne: “The success of Fishermans Bend depends on infrastructure and it needs good access to the city and we are working on a detailed transport strategy as part of long-term precinct planning.”

“We are working through the options through the ministerial advisory committee and public transport bodies whilst delivering our election commitments.”

Yarra’s Edge-based, anti-bridge activist Phil Spender told Docklands News he was keeping an eye on developments.

“The Fishermans Bend vision recast clearly articulates the transport plan is central to its future success and that makes sense,” Mr Spender said.

“I continue to urge Dockland residents, and those in Yarra’s Edge in particular, to take active interest in Fishermans Bend and to participate in the process through the upcoming community consultation also mentioned in the vision document.”

“This time, at least they are spelling out the next steps and committing to community consultation.”

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