Trail build still not on the road

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Cycle path: Cr Geoff Gledhill and grandson Beau at the 2015 opening of the Mentone to Mordialloc section of the Bay Trail. Picture: Yanni

COMMUNITY feedback on plans to build the Mentone to Mordialloc section of the Bay Trail will be presented to Kingston councillors in June.

Councillors at last week’s May public council meeting voted 5-4 to write to state Roads Minister Luke Donnellan and VicRoads to discuss ways to “finalise plans” to finish the Bay Trail.

Councillors are divided on how to build the trail section with five favouring a narrowing of Beach Rd and four preferring the removal of vegetation along the foreshore to construct the shared cycling and walking path.

The debate has become increasingly bitter amid councillors noting they have been personally attacked online for their views.

Cr Rosemary West said council needed to get VicRoads’ approval to possibly narrow Beach Rd while “minimising” any loss of car parking spaces.

If the road is narrowed between the lifesaving club and Peter Scullin Reserve in Mordialloc, it would reduce from about 14 metres on average in width to about 13 metres to build the final Kingston leg of the trail.

“VicRoads has not demanded proof that the community supports the narrowing of Beach Rd,” Cr West said.

Cr Ron Brownlees said VicRoads, “responsible for road safety in this state”, is concerned about cyclists’ safety if parts of Beach Rd are narrowed.

“It’s no wonder people get confused when we [council] can’t present a plan that really highlights which parts of Beach Rd are going to be impacted.”

Cr Brownless said approval from VicRoads was not sought when the previous Charman Rd to Mentone Lifesaving Club was built since “a back of kerb alignment” on along the foreshore was done.

The construction of that section was delayed amid arguments between councillors about the removal of foreshore vegetation to build the Bay Trail.

Crs Tamara Barth, David Eden, Georgina Oxley, Steve Staikos and West voted to write to VicRoads about possibly narrowing Beach Rd lanes.

Crs Tamsin Bearsley, Brownless, Geoff Gledhill and George Hua voted against the move.

Once finally complete the trail will form a continuous bike and walking path around Port Phillip Bay.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 31 May 2017

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