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Did you know that the State Labor Party has in its policy to not construct the railway
extension to Mernda until 2027? According to their ‘North East Integrated
Transport Study 2007’, this vitally needed infrastructure had been put on the
backburner indefinitely by former Premier John Brumby and his team.
The graph below shows the City of Whittlesea growth forecast for the suburbs of Mernda and Doreen. As you can see, the population will rise from approximately 10,000 in 2010 to 20,000 by 2014 and 40,000 by 2027. This timeline is completely unreasonable and unacceptable considering the amount of traffic congestion already on Plenty Road and the amount of Stamp Duty the State Government is receiving from the residents of this area through new housing developments.
The South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance started campaigning as soon as the
South Morang extension was started, for the Mernda
Railway extension to be constructed by the year 2014. Our request was a
reasonable one in light of the fact it will need to be built within the next
term of Government for Victoria ending in 2014, because forecasts have the population
from 10,000 to 20,000 residents.
On the 17th July, 2010 workers were observed drilling on the Mernda
railway easement directly opposite The Lakes Boulevard, where it
intersects with Plenty Road.
According to the Vicroads spokesperson the drilling was in regard to
a retaining wall to be built for the Plenty Road duplication project.
However the SMMRA believes this is not the case as evidenced by the
photographs on this page.
As you can see from the department of Transports image of the road
project, the duplication will be on the western side of the existing
alignment of Plenty Road.
Our photo's show however that the drilling works are on the eastern
side of Plenty Road, in the centre of the old railway tracks. It can
also be seen that Plenty Road is also already duplicated at The Lakes
Boulevard/ Plenty Road intersection.
If the road is already duplicated at this intersection then why is
the drilling in the middle of the rail easement?
The Mernda Rail extension has wide support from the community, the Mayor of Whittlesea, Cr Mary Lalios, her fellow Councillors and Public transport experts such as Dr Paul Mees. The SMMRA suggests that if the State Government are planning on extending rail to Mernda by 2014 then they should share the good news now.
Our campaign involved many stories going to air on both TV and Radio from the time the South Morang extension was announced. Many stories were put to editors of all papers including mainstream and Local Leader papers. A successful Facebook page was set up and received over 6170 likes, and over the time this has been up and running many comments have been made both for and against. However the success can be gauged in that it did inspire the local politicians to either like the page or keep coming back to see what the reactions were. Darren put up the following notices to keep everyone aware of what political party promised and what was not promised. It started with all three columns saying NO, and ended up with all saying YES.
A fantastic ally to our group was Whittlesea Council calling SMMRA and the Aurora Residents Group into a meeting at council offices in early 2014. At this meeting we were informed that Council through its many meetings with residents at various locations over the previous years had come up with the 2 most important issues from residents. First on the list was the Rail Extension and second was the completion of the O'Herns Road intersection to allow residents in the North to have access to the Craigieburn bypass. This would allow some of the major congestion issues to be alleviated. As such the Council would like to publicly back both campaigns and form the ACCESS DENIED alliance with us and have all contribute to the causes. Council would use its resources to provide flyers, postcards, roadside signs and a website and help with videos if required. We were asked not to contribute money but our time and support, and in return a bigger and better campaign would be had with the political parties.
This is one of about 10 of the roadside signs on both sides of Plenty Road from South Morang to Mernda. The picture on the right was taken at the sign placed in the park opposite Woolworths at Mernda Villages.
Adding to our message are the following pictures of the temporary car park at South Morang, which fills up early every day and now we have cars being booked for illegal parking. As a result of community pressure the Government made the temporary dirt car park in front of the Whittlesea Council offices into a more presentable temporary car park with solid rock surface and orderly parking bays. However this has continually filled to overflowing every day and has caused council to erect no parking signs in some areas.
In the photo below to the left the Liberal Premier announces that they will build the rail, and the last photo is the front page of the Whittlesea Leader on October 28th 2014 when the Liberal Party finally announced it would build the rail as well as the other 2 parties, thus it did not matter who won the election as all have promised to build the rail.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this long running campaign of over 10 years, and kept the faith and will soon be able to enjoy the fruits of the hard work. We must thank Whittlesea Council and all councillors who voted to allow the Council to establish the ACCESS DENIED campaign as this was a partnership never before attempted. This campaign included Whittlesea Council, South Morang Mernda Rail Alliance, made up of representatives from Mernda & District Residents Association, Friends of South Morang and Doreen Residents Action Group, and the Aurora Community Association all joining forces to campaign for the extension of the train line to Mernda, and to connect O'Herns Road in Epping North to the Hume Freeway. The campaign launched on Monday 17th March was the start of the collective efforts of these groups to push the State Government and the State Opposition to bring forward these projects.
Many thanks again to all of our supporters and perhaps the people of the Whittlesea township can now take up the reigns and push to have the line extended further than Mernda.
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