Victorian State Election 2018: Willy level crossing claims

Colleen Gates on Laverton level crossing removal

A recent report in the media gave voice to a Hobsons Bay Councillor who decided to announce their run for the seat of Williamstown as an independent candidate in the upcoming Victorian State Election in November.

In the story, the Councillor made a number of claims regarding the removal of the level crossing at Ferguson Street in Williamstown, a project that is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to remove 50 level crossings across Melbourne by 2022.

The Councillor claimed that the State Government “had been telling the Hobsons Bay City Council it would have plans for the crossing ready by the middle of this year” and “Then last December, it put it on the backburner.”

The claims continued with allegations that the reason the project was ‘put on the backburner’ was because Melissa Horne, a former executive at the Level Crossing Removal Authority, was running as the Labor Candidate for Williamstown.

The Councillor also claimed the State Government wanted “to wait until after the election to come out with plans that are most likely to be unpalatable to the electorate” and further alleged that residents can “expect a skyrail to emerge once the election is out of the way.”

Level crossings aside, the Hobsons Bay Councillor announced an intention to run for the seat of Williamstown as an independent candidate at the upcoming Victorian State Election in November, which was news to Willy and Hobby as much as it was to Council.

A Hobsons Bay Councillor took aim at Labor Candidate for Williamstown Melissa Horne with a rather creative campaign.

Following publication of the piece, Willy and Hobby confirmed that the Councillor only informed their fellow Councillor colleagues the morning of publication. It is understood that the announcement really put the cat among the pigeons.

Speaking to the Williamstown level crossing claims, Level Crossing Removal Authority project director Tony Hedley told Willy and Hobby the project is in the early planning stages, with initial community consultation expected to start next year.

“LXRA will undertake detailed planning and consultation before considering options to remove the level crossing at Ferguson Street – and we will work with locals and other key stakeholders as this project progresses,” Mr Hedley said.

Level Crossing Removal Project at Ferguson Street in Williamstown

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Photo: Level Crossing Removal Authority

A spokesperson for the Level Crossing Removal Authority also advised that there is currently no preferred design to remove the Ferguson Street level crossing, which does not rule out a skyrail, but by all means does not have one set in stone either.

Though most interesting about the Councillor’s story was talk about the West Gate Tunnel Project – a project the Councillor did not appear to have issues with when they supported a motion for the Council to receive $5 million dollars from the State Government for support.

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