Councils butt heads over Baxter line

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MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire mayor David Gill has poured cold water on Frankston Council CEO Dennis Hovenden’s claims that the shire has “no problem” with Baxter being the end point for the Frankston line extension.

Mr Hovenden said that “the Mornington Peninsula [Shire] has no problem with the electrification to Langwarrin and Baxter” after discussions at an informal dinner meeting between Mornington and Frankston councillors (“Rail resolution between councils signalled”, The Times, 15/1/19).

Cr Gill has disputed those comments, saying it “is not an accurate summary of the meeting between Frankston City Council and Mornington Peninsula Council in which Mornington Peninsula Council expressed the wish to have the electrification extension to at least Hastings”.

“Mornington Peninsula Council is not in favour of the extension stopping at Baxter which is in the green wedge and the Mornington Peninsula municipality,” he said.

“Hastings is the logical extension with extensive zoned special use including port related and industrial land and residential land still available for development.

“At the joint Frankston City and Mornington Peninsula Council informal meeting there was some discussion about there being less issues with the electrification going to Langwarrin within the boundaries of the Frankston City municipality.”

“The Baxter end of line alternative may have severe consequences in terms of large scale infrastructure that will develop surrounding an electrified end of line station, and threaten years of careful planning to protect the integrity of the local planning scheme, the character of the Mornington Peninsula, and the protection of the green wedge.”

“It is unfortunate that the Frankston CEO felt it necessary to speak on behalf of the Mornington Peninsula Shire. He is the CEO of Frankston City, not the Mornington Peninsula Municipality.”

When asked to clarify his comments, Mr Hovenden told The Times “Frankston City Council has met with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to progress a joint position on the electrification of the train line towards the Mornington Peninsula, to take to the Minister.

“Council fully understands and appreciates the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s view that the stabling of trains should not be at Baxter and supports an alternative position within the Mornington Peninsula Shire.

“Council maintains an excellent working relationship with the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, having established the executive sub-committee, the next joint meeting being in March.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 29 January 2019

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