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