Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kingston Council not on board with train stabling yard location

Kingston Council has expressed its disappointment that a train stabling yard will proceed next to homes in Kingston’s Green Wedge as part of the Victorian Government’s Suburban Rail Loop.

“Despite this setback for Heatherton residents, Kingston Council recognises the Victorian Government’s commitment to provide replacement open space and significant mitigation measures to reduce impact on residents,” the Council said in a statement this week.

Kingston Council had opposed the use of the Delta Site for a train stabling yard.

It says the loss of land that would have included regional sporting facilities to cater for the growing need for women’s and girls’ sports must be urgently replaced, with an open space site to provide the community with a much-needed and long-promised sporting facility.

Acting Kingston Mayor, Jenna Davey-Burns said the Delta site was a key part of the Kingston Green Wedge Plan.

“Our community for decades had been looking forward to having new open space and extensive sporting facilities on the Delta Site in Kingston’s Green Wedge,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

“Council is keen to now see the significant promise of the Chain of Parks delivered. This means a fit-for-purpose replacement for the 34 hectares of planned regional sporting facilities which will be lost to the train stabling, must be urgently provided. Our community deserves access to green open spaces, which are so important for the environment and our health and wellbeing.

“We are glad that the Government has recognised this and is committed to delivering a suitable replacement site, which we will be pushing as a matter of highest priority.”

Cr Davey-Burns said she welcomed the findings of the EES process, which support many of Council’s suggested improvements for the project, incorporated at the new station at Sir William Fry Reserve in Highett and the train stabling yard in Heatherton.

“Kingston proactively developed improved designs that aimed to maximise new green open spaces, putting climate change and our community at the centre of the design. With a strong focus on connectivity through improved pedestrian and cycling pathways and a prioritisation on community facilities like the much-loved farmers market and skate park, Council’s designs reflect what we as a community love and need,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

Kingston conducted significant community engagement to develop international best-practice designs for both sites.

Cr Davey-Burns acknowledged the significant efforts the community made towards the EES process to help recommend improvements to Kingston’s design for the project which resulted in positive changes being recommended in the EES report.

Karkarook Ward Councillor, Hadi Saab said residents were “deeply disheartened” by the stabling yard outcome despite strong advocacy by Council and the community.

‘While we are disappointed that not all mitigation measures suggested by the community and Council were recommended for adoption, we are looking forward to working closely with the Suburban Rail Loop Authority and the local community to ensure that the tougher requirements on construction impacts announced by the Victorian Government address the concerns of neighbouring residents,” Cr Saab said.

“Unfortunately, neighbouring residents are facing years with a construction site next door, and we want to work closely with the Suburban Rail Loop Authority to ensure all options are considered and every effort made to minimise the impact on their daily lives.

“Council will be working proactively with the Suburban Rail Loop during the design, construction and operation phases to get the best possible outcomes for our community,” he said.

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