Stunning remnant roadside vegetation on the Western Highway near Mt Langi Ghiran will be destroyed if the local residents’ campaign is successful. They are trying to save trees on their farms, a perfectly acceptable aim.
Worryingly, residents are also calling for a so called “alternative” route that could only lead to the loss of the continuous, very high conservation value roadsides at the foothills of the mountain (a State Park), over more than a 6 km stretch. That must not happen. The roadsides extend the vegetation from the mount which is essential for maintaining a vibrant habitat. The roadsides are home to a large population of Sugar Gliders – and are replete with other animals, birds, insects and reptiles.
- The locals are calling for a “narrow road” in the powerline easement
- But the veg there is unique and valuable in numerous ways and should under no circumstances be removed
- DELWP insisted the vegetation in this area be protected. The approved alignment is further away from the mountain – within the residents’ properties
- There is an unnamed species of Melaleuca there (recognised by the Melbourne Herbarium), a rare Grevillia and significant populations of the rare Emerald-lip Greenhood
- VicRoads wouldn’t build a narrow road – they are under obligation to build to a freeway standard
- Residents didn’t allow for the need to manoeuvre materials and machinery etc
- The “northern option” was only ever proffered by the residents, in the hope VicRoads would agree to a swap
- The entire southern roadside would have to be wiped out if the highway duplication were to occur here
- A faulty accounting technique makes people think the farmland is actually more significant ecologically than the roadside in question. That’s because the damage to the environment of a hoped-for and impossible narrow two-laned roadway (in the powerline easement) is compared with the full four-laned freeway on the approved route
- The residents fail to mention that even if their land were to be spared impacts by a freeway, it has no environmental protection and subsequent owners would be free to pursue normal farming activities with the attendant losses of biodiversity as can be seen on surrounding farmland
Your explanation of this issue is powerful Helen, thank you. I hope the group save valuable trees but destruction of eco-systems of greater area and value cannot be the outcome.
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This is the truth. What people don’t know is that there has been an enormous amount of work conducted by you and others to ensure that there is minimal impact on the environment. Of course, when any sort of infrastructure is being built, thete are always casualties. If these endeavours had not been undertaken then the proposed destruction would definitely be much, much higher. The Western Highway Conservation Group took the unusual and unlikely path to discuss, suggest, demand and negotiate with respect and dignity. For the environment.
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It’s a shame these protests didn’t take place before the Western Highway duplication commenced over four years ago. There could have been a more sensitive route designed from the onset. Instead, we have a no-win situation where, because of the trajectory of the road, any possible option will be extremely damaging to the environment. If you look at maps of the area, you see that there is no pathway that doesn’t lead to and through precious habitat.
It is quite remarkable to observe the mobilisation of so many committed conservationists but do they realise the irony of their position? Will they be prepared to halt the project altogether?
I fear the gallant effort they make is too little, too late and ignorant of all the facts which seems more like mob mentality than educated decisions. A real shame.