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?
Horsham Rural City Council is also encountering problems with VicRoads.
Horsham residents have not necessarily identified environmental problems associated with the Horsham Bypass, but the underlying issues involved in dealing with VicRoads seem to be a common complaint. Read what the Mayor had to say:
VicRoads has been cutting down thousands of large trees on the Princes Highway and nearby roads in Gippsland , citing “Safety.” Again, safety is important but it must be remembered that we share the planet with other species, and that we are all interdependent.
From John Bowman, Ocean Grove resident.
VicRoads owns the the roadside reserve and has drawings to eventually duplicate Grubb Road or build a bike track. In themselves these may not be bad things, but they shouldn’t be at the expense of the vegetation. Residents feel they are always on the back foot trying to protect the vegetation, including from other utilities. It is to be hoped that these photos taken from Grubb Rd will serve to protect the vegetation, and will not become “before” photos.
VicRoads said that many “locations between Traralgon and Longwarry in Gippsland involved the ‘complete removal’ of all trees within median strips between traffic lanes.” From http://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/219410/roadside-hazards-cut/
Quotes from the article, now becoming all-too-familiar around Victoria. Something must be done to rein in VicRoads’ enthusiasm for destruction of our natural heritage.
- were not convinced removing the trees was the best response
- asked why barriers could not instead be placed either side of the trees
Letter from Graeme Wilkie. VicRoads has removed vegetation and placed netting over the rocks on the Great Ocean Road escarpment north of Lorne. Habitat value and amenity destroyed. Surf Coast Times Thursday 16 July 2015. There are reports that a peregrine falcon’s nesting site has been netted over.
“Destruction of the amenity of our world-class scenic drive.”
“How far can we expect this vandalism to go, the entire length of the Great Ocean Road?”
Hundreds of large old trees are being cleared to duplicate the Western Highway. Image: Western Highway Alternative Mindsets
This article is from the Ararat Advertiser, journalist: Ben Kimber. 11 August 2015.
There is a poll attached to the article about whether a new EES should be required. Please check it and vote Yes.
Western Highway duplication: WHAM calls for new EES
WESTERN Highway Alternative Mindsets is demanding an immediate stop to all work on the duplication between Ararat and Beaufort.
That is in response to revelations VicRoads bungled the estimated impact of the project on hundreds of native old growth trees.
VicRoads has admitted 885 large old and scattered trees will be lost during the project, far greater than 470 as estimated in the 2012 Environment Effects Statement.
WHAM spokesperson Helen Lewers said work on the Western Highway duplication should be brought to a halt.
This website will be the on-line home of the statewide network which is working to protect remnant vegetation along our roads and highways in Victoria.
Areas of high conservation vegetation are being destroyed by VicRoads, the government authority responsible for roads.
Sadly they are proving to be slow to respond to community concerns about the loss of priceless native vegetation.
There are a growing number of local community groups who are concerned about local impacts as roads are built or upgraded. It is time for these groups to band together to demand that the state government direct VicRoads and ensure that roads are made safe without destroying our roadside treasures.