RESIDENTS living by the proposed site of suburban rail loop stabling in Heatherton say that its proposed layout is the “worst possible outcome.”
A statement from resident group Move The Train Yard read that “the most high-impact, industrial aspects of the site have been placed as close as possible to the local residents who live adjacent to the site, with the train maintenance, train wash, shelter and workshop all being placed at the western side of the site adjacent to residential housing.”
Suburban Rail Loop’s executive general manager of rail and infrastructure delivery, Nicole Stoddart, told The News that the noisier parts of the stabling had been placed on the eastern side away from concerned residents. “The layout allows for screening and planting. There will be shorter trains that are not as noisy, it’s not like a noisy stabling line, and we are using different technology. There will be no need to sound horns, automated trains, and acoustic sheds to house equipment which are focused on minimising impact on people for the facility,” she said.
“The layout as it stands at the moment is in the preliminary design stage. (…) The more noisy parts are planned for the eastern side, and layout has taken into account those residents’ concerns.”
The Move The Train Yard group says that an alternate site in the Moorabbin Industrial Area should have been chosen for stabling. “The Suburban Rail Loop found a suitable site for the stabling yard in Moorabbin Industrial Area, which is where this large- scale industrial use should be. Relocating businesses and jobs will have a short-term impact which can be mitigated by appropriate planning and compensation. Why have they chosen the most expensive option in terms of engineering costs and risks, and loss of irreplaceable open space,” the group said.
Ms Stoddart said that putting the SRL stabling at the Moorabbin site “would have resulted in business acquisitions, cost hundreds of jobs, been more expensive, and been a longer journey. It wasn’t a great outcome”. She confirmed that “some businesses at Heatherton” would have to be compulsorily acquired “at a very low scale”. “There is one significant owner, and we have letter dropped all impacted by acquisition. All have had discussions with us so it will be no surprise to the properties identified, and there will be no impact to residential homes on the western side,” she said.
Stage one of the suburban rail loop project is going through the Environmental Effects Statement process. Exhibitions are expected to start in November.
For more information visit engage.vic.gov.au/srl-stage-one-ees-scoping-requirements