Category: Letters

Sample letters we have send to officials

Letter to the Commissioner Lang

Dear Commissioner Lang

You may not be aware that the State Government of Victoria has not done an Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation study (EPBC) in regards to the Elevated Rail project over Seaford Road in Seaford.  As this planned project is 700 metres from Ramsar Wetlands, which is specifically mentioned in the EPBC act the Victorian Government is required by law to do this. I reiterate it has not been done and Australia risks breaking Migratory Bird Agreements with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea(CAMBA,JAMBA and ROKAMBA. )Please be aware tenders are out, two contractors have been shortlisted and contracts WILL be signed before the end of the year. Works to begin early next year. I realise you are a busy man and it is a busy time of year but time is of an essence and is fast running out. I respectfully ask you as the Commissioner for Threatened Species to call for an EPBC with expedience. Please find below some information about the bird life in these wetlands.

Over 100 different species of birds can regularly be seen at Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. Seventeen species of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere visit the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands.  Most of them are protected by international treaties. All of these species could be threatened by elevated rail.

The Edithvale–Seaford Wetlands  are a unique habitat for a diverse range of waterbirds with seventy-five native waterbird species being recorded at the Ramsar site between 1989–2007.

Of particular note, the Seaford Ramsar site regularly supports more than 1 per cent of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population of sharp-tailed sandpiper, a waterbird species of international importance listed under both JAMBA and CAMBA. The East Asian-Australasian Flyway extends southwards from Alaska and Russia’s far-east, through East Asia and South-East Asia, to Australia and New Zealand. The wetlands provide suitable habitat for the sharp-tailed sandpiper as they prefer shallow, freshwater, ephemeral wetlands. Large numbers gather at the Ramsar site as the wetlands dry out.

The ability of the wetlands to regularly support more than 1 per cent of the flyway population of sharp-tailed sandpipers enabled the site to satisfy Ramsar Criterion Six at the time of listingThe Edithvale–Seaford Ramsar site also provides suitable habitat for the regularly recorded Australasian bittern, a waterbird species of international significance. The Australasian bittern is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The south-east Australian population of Australasian bitterns, supported by Edithvale–Seaford Wetlands, is one of four remaining in the world.

All of these listed bird species could be negatively impacted by elevated rail as we have diesel trains that run along the Frankston Line. Each train is pulled by two diesel trains approximately 30 trucks long. In each truck there are two steel coils weighing approximately 30 tonnes each. Our concern is that as the rail is elevated the carcinogenic fumes will drift across to the wetlands with only a slight breeze. Do I know this for sure? No I don’t as no EES has been done. Does the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) know that it is safe? No they don’t as an EES has not been done.

The Seaford Wetlands as been as the main point of contention against a rail under Rd Solution. Research into the Seaford Wetlands shows it to now be a largely artificial Wetland that has current engineering controls in place to maintain the levels of the various cells through-out the varying seasons as required. These engineering controls regulate the water coming in and going out to waste from the Seaford Wetlands. Given the fact that the Seaford Wetlands are now known to be actively managed in regards to its hydrology & the engineering solution has been proved to be 36% of the original assumptions by the LXRA you would have to question the original recommendations.

The Kananook Creek has constantly been used as another point of argument by the Government and the LXRA quoting it to be at a believed 10% of its natural flow. The Kananook Creek now has current engineering controls to help maintain the flow however the main system which lives close to the mouth of the entrance to the Kananook Creek is known to be in disrepair and has been this way since the nineties greatly influencing this problem, Simple repairs or replacements of these controls would no doubt be beneficial and help increase the flow.

A rail under solution has been drawn in 3D cad from detailed feature surveying data to calculate the length of the required solution, this information negates the LXRA claimed 1 kilometre long concrete bath-tub to an approx 380 meter long cutting. Due to current topology in Seaford it creates a rail under solution reduced in length by 64% when compared to Edithvale seriously reducing any potential impacts that may or may not happen. In short the length of the required engineering solution has been reduced to 36% of its original quoted length which in turn no doubt reduces the chances of any possible impact by a significant amount.

The LXRA announced the Skyrail decision before any detailed investigation had been performed into an engineering solution for a rail under rd scenario at Seaford Rd as quoted in the Aecom/LXRA report

As revealed recently via FOI. The LXRA were instructed by the State Government to not consult with the public. Throughout the entire engagement process LXRA staff have refused to respond to or engage  in any productive conversation since the beginning of the project, various reports and section drawings have never been released or shared with the public, no real consultation has ever occurred.

A strong case has been built against the proposed design and needs to be seriously considered.

I look forward to your reply with anticipation

 

Letter to Dr. Gillian Sparkes

Dr. Gillian Sparkes

Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability

Level 16,  570 Bourke St.

Melbourne Vic. 3000

E: info.ces@ces.vic.gov.au

 

(Date …………………………….)

Dear Dr. Sparkes

I write seeking an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) or consideration of The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act Relating to the removal of Seaford Road Railway Crossing, in Seaford Victoria.

As I’m sure you are aware the Environmental Protection and Biological Diversity Act (EPBC) must be invoked with any large infrastructure project, it has not been invoked, and thus no Environmental Effects Study (EES) has been triggered. The Ramsar Wetlands are specifically noted in the EPBC act.  By not doing an EES (whether the rail goes under or over the road) Australia is breaking international Migratory Bird Agreements with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

For your information 17 species of migratory birds from the Northern Hemisphere visit the Edithvale/Seaford  Ramsar Wetlands. These wetlands regularly support more than 1 percent of the East Asian Flyaway population of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, a waterbird species which is listed as a species of international importance under the Jamba and Camba agreements. The Australasian Bittern is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The South-East Australian population of Australian Bitterns, supported by these wetlands, is one of four remaining in the world.

Air quality will be reduced due to greenhouse gas emissions from the increase in fuel of the freight trains going up, then down on the Frankston Line. Each freight train has two engines to pull it, each train has approximately 30 trucks and in each truck there are two coils of steel weighing approximately 30 tonnes each. We believe a rail under road design which will not use as much fuel.

It should be noted that the elevated rail will be 700 metres from the Ramsar Wetlands and is directly next to sporting grounds. It should be recognised that the pollution from the carcinogenic fumes will become airborne and drift over to the wetlands and sporting fields.

Social Structure and Networks. Antisocial behaviour and graffiti on the pylons under the elevated rail. These pylons will need to be close together to bear the weight of the freight trains therefore there will be no meaningful recreational space as put forward by LXRA: instead it will be a railway bridge to blight our community. In a predominantly low rise housing area the elevated rail is out of character and will be a visual eyesore for many, many years to come.

Amenity.  Substantial overshadowing of properties near or along the rail corridor robbing us of a basic amenity — sunlight. Lack of sunlight is a known cause for depression and lack of the feeling of well being.

Social vulnerability and different effects on a part of the community. This includes security risk in streets along the rail corridor due to increased accessibility to the rear of properties. Over 97 % of the community are against any elevated rail option.

I ask you Dr. Sparkes how does this not trigger an EES? I ask for your support to call for an EES and please note time is of an essence so any action taken will need to be expedient.

Regards

(Sign your name ……………………………….)

 

Frydenberg – Conservation study at Seaford crossing

Dear Mr Frydenberg
You may not be aware that the State Government of Victoria has not done an Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation study (EPBC) in regards to the Elevated Rail project over Seaford Road in Seaford. As this planned project is 700 metres from Ramsar Wetlands, which is specifically mentioned in the EPBC act the Victorian Government is required by law to do this. I reiterate it has not been done. Please be aware tenders are out, two contractors have been shortlisted and contracts WILL be signed before the end of the year. Works to begin early next year. I realise you are a busy man but time is of an essence and is fast running out. I respectfully ask you as the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy to call for an EPBC with expedience. Please find below some information about the bird life in these wetlands.

Seventeen species of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere visit the Ramsar Wetlands in Seaford. Most of them are protected by international treaties.Today they are recognized as precious community assets.Of particular note, the Edithvale–Seaford Ramsar site regularly supports more than 1 percent of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population of sharp-tailed sandpiper, a waterbird species of international importance listed under both JAMBA and CAMBA. The Edithvale–Seaford Ramsar site also provides suitable habitat for the regularly recorded Australasian bittern, a waterbird species of international significance. The Australasian bittern is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The south-east Australian population of Australasian bitterns, supported by Edithvale–Seaford Wetlands, is one of four remaining in the world.

Kind regards …………

Letter to Daniel Andrews re Seaford Road Crossing

Dear Daniel Andrews,
It has been clearly established the LXRA is only the propaganda face of the Crossing Removal project and makes no decisions. I maintain that it is up to you Daniel Andrews to respond to the questions the Seaford Community are asking regarding the elevated rail at Seaford Road, ludicrously labelled as a “Hybrid solution”. As our elected Premier, charged to represent your constituents it is up to you to have the courage to face the community of Seaford to answer our challenges.
Many of the members of our community have been referred to the AECOM Report as an answer to their emails requesting data. The AECOM report we are referred to notes that it is “incomplete.” The LXRA allegedly has another report that supposedly proves that Rail under Road cannot be achieved, however as told to the Frankston City Council the LXRA does not want to release this report because “only six people in Australia would understand it”. The community challenges you to release this report as we have our engineers and indeed the Frankston City Council has their engineers waiting to study and comment. Until that is released and should it actually prove anything that you have released is not sufficient and does not prove anything that you claim. The fact remains that the entire area of the crossing was originally harvested for its sand (which is why the Football Oval is 3 metres lower than the existing line) and any clay you claim to have located was all imported as part of filling as Seaford was developed. Therefore this clay has no bearing on your claims as it is not “natural” to the environment.
When the subject of an EES is raised by us we are told it is “not meeting triggers by lowering the road by 1.5 metres” the community raises the question of the need for an EES based on your elevation process. At the crossing (based on 5 metres elevation from current) the elevated rail line will see trains including diesel at approximately 9 metres in the air (plus wires and gantries higher.) At the rear of some properties either side of the rail corridor, the elevation remains the same from the natural ground as the existing line is approximately 1.9 metres elevated (on a mound) so even on a decline the infrastructure remains at a similar height relative to ground level. The community raises the following questions re elevation:
Air quality- elevated rail will reduce air quality as the carcinogenic particles will be distributed at height and left to be distributed by prevailing winds over residential properties.
Energy consumption eg: The increased use of diesel fuel to go up then down. Rail under Road design will use less fuel.
Additional greenhouse gas emissions eg. Carcinogenic emissions from diesel trains.
The integrity of built structures. eg: The weight of the freight trains. Each truck carries two coils weighing approximately 30 tonnes each, usually at least 30 trucks with two diesel engines to pull it.
Over 100 different species of birds can regularly be seen at Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. Seventeen species of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere visit the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. Most of them are protected by international treaties. All of these species could be negatively impacted by elevated rail.
The Edithvale–Seaford Wetlands are a unique habitat for a diverse range of waterbirds with seventy-five native waterbird species being recorded at the Ramsar site between 1989–2007.
Of particular note, the Seaford Ramsar site regularly supports more than 1 percent of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population of sharp-tailed sandpiper, a waterbird species of international importance listed under both JAMBA and CAMBA. The East Asian-Australasian Flyway extends southwards from Alaska and Russia’s far-east, through East Asia and South-East Asia, to Australia and New Zealand. The wetlands provide suitable habitat for the sharp-tailed sandpiper as they prefer shallow, freshwater, ephemeral wetlands. Large numbers gather at the Ramsar site as the wetlands dry out.
The ability of the wetlands to regularly support more than 1 percent of the flyway population of sharp-tailed sandpipers enabled the site to satisfy Ramsar Criterion Six at the time of listingThe Edithvale–Seaford Ramsar site also provides suitable habitat for the regularly recorded Australasian bittern, a waterbird species of international significance. The Australasian Bittern is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The south-east Australian population of Australasian bitterns, supported by Edithvale–Seaford Wetlands, is one of four remaining in the world.
All of these listed bird species could be negatively impacted by elevated rail.

 

The negative aspects of elevated rail on the community are as follows. Social structure and networks eg: antisocial behaviour and graffiti on the pylons under the elevated rail, the embankments and pylons will be a big divide right through the community.
Residential amenity & social well-being eg: Overshadowing causing diminished sunlight into residential properties a known cause of depression and lack of the feeling of well being.
Social vulnerability and differential effects on parts of the communities. Security risk on residential properties bounded by the rail reserve re increased access to the back of houses
Housing and social infrastructure needs eg: Predominantly low rise housing
Perceptions of aesthetic, recreational and other social values of landscape or locality eg: Out of character with our seaside community, airborne pollution next to a sporting ground, a visual blight on the community.
As an additional consideration, you are also proposing a bike/pedestrian path along the rail line within the reserve. The existing reserve is rarely used, by introducing this path you also expose all properties to new security concerns by inviting public direct access to the rear of properties. Again should your plan proceed it will be your responsibility to ensure security protection for all residences?
Attitudes to the proposed development. 97.1 percent of the community want rail under road
The references to noise and air quality are interesting as given that you have already committed to your design, I would have thought that all of these issues would have been included into your engineering and costing not still “up in the air”. This lack of investigation is indicative of the acknowledged failures in your non-consultative process with the community. All of this information should already be available and clearly communicated with the community, not made up afterwards. The whole “Community Consultation” has proven to be flawed and farcical.
I do see a positive in that the trains will no longer be blowing their horn as it approaches the removed crossing (the same for Rail under Road) however I am sure that the train will still be blowing its horn to scare those that may be climbing on the infrastructure which will be totally accessible to all.
Once again, Mr Andrews, I remind you, you are the elected Premier of the State. You are elected by the people for the people not for your own desires. Your plan is directly against the wishes of 97.1% of Seaford residents. It is my will as it is the will of the community of Seaford that you stand up, divulge the currently withheld data, properly consult with and understand the impact you propose on our suburb. As has been said before no matter what the circumstance this would never happen in Hampton or Brighton, you can build a road under sea water at Safety Beach, you can build a tunnel under the Yarra, you have clearly indicated that no matter what the environmental implications you will build the Western Distributor however in Seaford the most obvious crossing you refuse to build Rail under Road. Do it once and do it right! It is time for you to stand up and protect this community !!

We await your challenge acceptance

Regards……………….

Letter to the MP’s re Projects at Seaford

Dear Minister X,

I support the removal of the Level Crossings. However, I have an issue with the way it is to be done. The proposed “Hybrid Solution”  at Seaford Road (which is an elevated solution) I consider substandard.

On Sunday 23rd July we held a Rally in Seaford, with more than 300 people protesting against elevated rail. The rally has been mentioned in Herald Sun and covered by 7 News. Two of the rally speakers were Frankston City Councilors, supporting the community.

Rail under Road at Seaford Road is possible. No Skyrail Frankston Line (NSRFL) have designs that prove Rail under Road (such as Bentleigh, Ormond, and McKinnon) is viable without impacting the Seaford Edithvale Wetlands. Water table issues can be dealt with using some smart engineering (eg. road tunnel at Safety Beach.) The Seaford Edithvale wetlands and Kananook Creek are currently being artificially managed.The engineering is already in place to mitigate against any impact.

 

Why has there been no feasibility study of a rail under road solution at Seaford Rd? Why has there been no investigation of the health impact from the spreading of carcinogenic diesel particulates and metal dust from raised railways? These particulates will become airborne and spread across the wider community.

 

The overshadowing simulations show the elevated rail will cast shadows for hundreds of metres in the morning and in the afternoon. Lack of sunlight is linked to depression. It limits the harvest of solar power from peoples roofs. It robs the community of a basic amenity, sunlight.

 

The noise will be heard for many kilometres. The ineffectual sound barriers will add height over and above the track.

 

Property prices will plummet, which will in effect cut council rates. No funding arrangement has been presented for the maintenance of the embankments and the inevitable graffiti removal.

 

I also have an issue with the railway storage facility that is planned to be moved from Carrum to Seaford. It is unnecessary with plans for the electrification of the line to Baxter in the future.Do it once and do it right and have the railway storage facility placed on now empty land in Baxter. A railway storage facility in Seaford would displace seven businesses and cost our community over 100 jobs. Most of these businesses have been there for over forty years. Page Brothers alone have been there for fifty years and employ fifty people. Imagine how many jobs these businesses have provided over the years. Where is the loyalty? How much recompense will these businesses get for capital expenditures?

 

The site is much bigger than the railway storage facility currently in Carrum. Are the residents to expect train after the train travelling to the storage facility late at night as the services wind down? Then the shunting after they arrive at the storage facility, late into the night.

 

The closure of Eel Race Road (ERR) will cause traffic chaos in Armstrongs Road, McLeod Road, and Nepean Hwy. There is no dispute that this level crossing should be removed, by rail under road. Closing this crossing will create the very traffic congestion that this project was meant to decrease. Patterson Lakes Secondary College and various primary schools in this area are accessed via ERR crossing. Replace it with rail under road. Do it once, do it right.

I look forward to your response