Council concerns raised over West Gate Tunnel Project’s bigger hole

Councillors Colleen Gates and Jonathon Marsden reporting for duty after raising concerns on the West Gate Tunnel Project.

Hobsons Bay City Council has delegated the authority of operational matters relating to the West Gate Tunnel Project to council officers, so that ‘common sense’ access requirements can be addressed throughout the project without constant council endorsement.

In a report that accompanied a motion carried at the recent council meeting in August, Hobsons Bay City Council stated the new process would enable them to address the number of current and future requests received from the West Gate Tunnel Project.

“In light of the volume and details of the traffic management implications on the local road network as a result of the project, the framework has been developed to improve confidence in decision making,” the Council stated.

“Council receives several requests weekly seeking approvals to enable investigatory and construction works. The framework will enable council to respond to the requests at a reasonable time while achieving better outcomes for the community.”

Relinquishing control over a project with ‘extreme political sensitivities’ did not come without its criticisms, with Councillor Colleen Gates suggesting a ‘lack of performance’ when it comes to the communications surrounding the project.

“It’s not our project, it’s their project. They’ve got boards on the freeways, they’ve got other avenues for communicating road closures and various activities and I’m seeing most of those comms coming through our Council’s websites or Facebook page,” Cr Gates said.

Councillor Colleen Gates speaks on West Gate Tunnel Project communications. (14/08/18)

“We’re sharing the information or we’re making our own publications because it’s not forthcoming from the West Gate Tunnel Project and I think there’s some significant improvement that can be undertaken.”

Councillor Jonathon Marsden said the West Gate Tunnel Project is ‘largely unwanted in the suburbs which it passes through’ and echoed similar sentiments to fellow councillors on the communications surrounding the project.

“The contractor having defined the scope has also the responsibility to communicate those ill effects and deficiencies throughout the project. I feel that they’re not holding up their end when it comes to public communications,” Cr Marsden said.

Councillor Jonathon Marsden on West Gate Tunnel Project communications. (14/08/18)

The Western Distributor Authority (WDA) is the administrative office responsible for the management of the West Gate Tunnel Project on behalf of the Victorian Government and in partnership with Transurban.

WDA Communications Deputy Director Kim Payne said whilst updates are available through the project’s website, newsletters, social media, road signs, radio and television advertising, door knocks, letters and information sessions, feedback is always welcome.

“If it is travel disruption information you are after, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or go to our website. For any traffic changes, there will also be road signs, and if it is a more significant disruption, radio and print advertising,” Ms Payne said.

“For construction impacts nearby, we make sure residents are aware through door knocks, information in their letterboxes and information sessions. And for information to the broader community we send out a newsletter to 64,000 properties every three months.”

“We’re always happy to take feedback on how we can be communicating more, so if people have ideas do not hesitate to get in touch on 1800 105 105.”

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