Boroondara withdraws North East Link legal action

City of Boroondara has withdrawn legal action against the North East Link after reaching an agreement with the Victorian Government and North East Link Project (NELP).

We commenced legal action against the North East Link project in February 2020 because of our concerns about the lawfulness of the process of approval used by the government for its reference design.

We are pleased to have reached an agreement, and through the process have secured additional opportunities for meaningful consultation with NELP and its contractor as plans are developed, as well as a number of other highly beneficial outcomes for our community.

The Victorian Government and the NELP have agreed to provide us with the opportunity to work with the successful bidder to review and discuss the design of the North East Link. Our involvement in this process will seek to minimise the impact of the project on our community, land, assets and neighbourhood amenity.

As part of the agreement, the Victorian Government and NELP will:

  • Protect and retain the Freeway Golf Course as an 18-hole, competition-standard public golf course.
  • Transfer 1.9 hectares of land at the former VicRoads depot in Kew to the City of Boroondara for community use.
  • Plant at least 4000 trees in Boroondara.
  • Return the Koonung Creek Reserve land not acquired for the project to its original state with some improvements following completion of the NEL.
  • Provide $300,000 to install the 40km/h shopping centre speed limit on Doncaster Road through the Greythorn Shopping Centre.
  • Provide $500,000 for the finalisation and delivery of the Bellevue Shopping Centre improvement plan.
  • Provide $700,000 for the design and construction of pedestrian-operated signals on Balwyn Road, Balwyn, near Gordon Barnard Reserve.

During mediation, we had to choose between keeping the Freeway Golf Course as an 18-hole public golf course or retaining a regional tennis centre requiring 3.68 hectares of public open space land in Boroondara.

NELP’s preference was to relocate the Boroondara Tennis Centre to the current Freeway Golf Course site, which would become a shorter 9-hole course.

However, the Freeway Golf Course is a public golf course and one of only two golf courses in Boroondara. Shortening it was unacceptable.

Boroondara is a built-up municipality and has limited open space. As our population grows, open space will be a lot more important for our community’s quality of life. The retention of public open space is vital for our City, so it was not possible to construct a new regional tennis centre on existing public open space in Boroondara. Instead, we will work to strengthen and improve tennis through our local community tennis clubs.

The Victorian Government has informed us that it has commenced work to identify a site for a new regional tennis centre outside of Boroondara. This would replace the current Boroondara Tennis Centre, which has been used by residents from across Melbourne. The Boroondara Tennis Centre at its current site on Bulleen Road will continue to operate until at least the end of 2022, provided a contractor is available.

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