Council welcomes crossing designs but cites consultation and design concerns (media release)

26 August 2019

Moreland City Council welcomes the release of the long-awaited level crossing designs and the elements of the design for which Council has long been advocating; more open space for the community, separated bike paths and the preservation of two heritage buildings.

“Council is pleased to see aspects of the design it has been advocating for such as pedestrian plazas at Coburg and Moreland Stations, a separated bike and pedestrian path, and five vehicle, bike and pedestrian crossings, along with other positive aspects such as a nature-play community space represented in the designs, but we would like our other design concerns addressed,” said Cr Abboud.

Council wants to see the inclusion of escalators at Coburg station or consideration to future proofing for this important growth area, separated bike and pedestrian paths around the stations to improve safety and commuter access and further extensions to the Upfield shared path.

Council also believes in the importance of protecting heritage, and last Thursday resolved to make a submission to Heritage Victoria to oppose the demolition of the Munro signal box.

Council feels the State Government has missed a valuable opportunity for deeper consultation with the community and believes elements of the design need improvement.

Council and the community were not briefed on the outcomes of the recent community consultation or the artist’s impressions of the level crossing designs prior to their release on Sunday 25 August 2019.

“Council is supportive of the level crossing removal project and acknowledges that engaging the community and key stakeholders such as Council and the community is essential for an important, city-shaping project such as this. LXRP’s community consultation got off to a great start but unfortunately it seems to have stalled,” said Cr Abboud.

Another area for grave concern is Gandolfo Gardens, with the artist’s impressions of vegetation misleading and the designs not responding to community concern about outcomes for the space.

“We recognise the significance and importance of this space to the community and our city. The LXRP need to actively engage with the community, listen to, and incorporate their concerns and ideas, so Gandolfo Gardens can continue to be a green space that is used and loved by all,” Cr Abboud said.

“We need to continue to preserve canopy within the city, in keeping with our Urban Forest Strategy, which addresses the urban heat island effect in the city.”

Council recently formed its own Community Advocacy Reference group, so community members and Council can work collectively to advocate to the LXRP for the best possible outcomes for the level crossing removal works in Moreland.

“The LXRP Community Advocacy Group met for the first time last week in what was a productive and successful meeting. Ensuring our community’s voice is heard is our priority, as outlined in the 2017-2021 Council Plan,” said Cr Abboud.

“I encourage other members of our community to provide their feedback on the designs to the State Government and the LXRP, and to attend the next consultation opportunity on September 14 and I hope that the community will be heard,” said Cr Abboud.

The level crossing removal project is funded and delivered by the State Government via the Level Crossings Removal Project (LXRP).

For more information about the level crossing removals and the LXRP email: contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au or call 1800 105 105.