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By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

GREATER Dandenong councillor Sean O’Reilly has voiced concern about the cost of maintaining new parks and open spaces under the proposed sky rail in Noble Park being passed onto local councils.
Cr O’Reilly, an ALP member, told an 8 February council meeting that he wondered how councils were expected to look after the “unleashed 11 MCGs of open space” while their revenue was “squeezed” by rate capping.
“Where does that money come from in a rate-capping environment?
“Does it come from (council) services for vulnerable people?”
Greens MP Nina Springle posed a similar question in Parliament on 9 February.
The State Government has 30 days to form a reply.
Another ALP councillor Roz Blades labelled Noble Park residents’ reaction to the sudden sky rail announcement as “dreadful”.
Cr Blades said the community preferred rail-under-road grade separations at Corrigan, Heatherton and Chandler roads, and didn’t feel properly consulted prior to the project’s announcement on 7 February.
“So far the reaction has been dreadful. Nobody I’ve spoken to has been positive,” Cr Blades said.
“It’s because there was supposed to be consultation. Many thought they would have input to the process.
“Handing out cards at Noble Park shopping centre early in the morning doesn’t do it.”
Asked what she thought of the nine-metre tall sky rail and Noble Park station redesign, Cr Blades said she would have to see the detail.
“The only people who have seen it would be them (the government and Level Crossing Removal Authority).”
Councillor Matthew Kirwan said residents regarded the government’s original consultation as “pretty much an information session”.
“There was no genuine attempt to find out what people thought.
“Undergrounding would have provided all the benefits of sky rail (such as) open space without the visual blight and privacy, safety and crime concerns.
“If that was not viable why aren’t we seeing the cost benefit analysis to prove it?”
He said there needed to be discussions on how much car parking would be provided at the new Noble Park railway station, as well as addressing residents’ sound and privacy concerns.

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