From Nicola Provan. The duplication of the Princes Highway in the section between Winchelsea and Colac (38 km) involves the destruction of many kilometres of old roadside plantings, unless the public – no doubt up to now poorly informed, apart from a few dedicated individuals – stages ongoing protest!
Works are due to start as soon as approval under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) is granted. The focus of concern under the referral is loss of habitat for 2 endangered species: growling grass frog and hairy burrowing crayfish, which VicRoads manages to gloss over in the hope that the the questionable “offsets” scheme will result in a quick approval. The vegetation remains a valuable asset for its amenity value, for higher productivity on surrounding farms and for sheltering and providing breeding sites for the many birds and animals now living there. Is there no end to VicRoads’ disregard for the environment we live in?
VicRoads maintains it is “committed to working with the community and we will continue to meet with landowners, residents and traders.”Hmm.
“Once finalised, [amendments] will enable the reservation of land for future road duplication and apply a Public Acquisition Overlay to the land. It will also provide exemptions from permit requirements in relation to various planning scheme controls.” Worrying!
Devastating. What does Vic Roads claim is the reason for the duplication?
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Standard reasons which may or may not stand scrutiny: “Improved safety, travel times and reliability. Improved access for freight and tourism to the Great Ocean Road”. (Meanwhile VicRoads is trashing the tourism potential of the Great Ocean Road by removing escarpment vegetation and replacing with wire netting!).