Newsletter November 2016

Blackburn Level Crossing Removal (BLXR)

The desecration of the natural landscape in Blackburn by the BLXR Authority continues apace with the companies involved (construction company CPB Contractors and its parent company CIMIC, formerly Leighton Holdings), along with MetRail and the State Government, oblivious and uncaring about the carnage being carried out in the name of ‘progress’.

In addition Whitehorse Council appears powerless to achieve any semblance of compromise on behalf of the local environment and the Blackburn community. Unfortunately the concerted lobbying by the Tree Society, other community groups and individuals, has not achieved any discernible positive outcomes for the trees and vegetation in the BLXR project works zone – apart, that is, from the retention of two small Gleditsias near the Rotunda and a larger shade tree in the Blackburn Library courtyard! The tree and vegetation loss (over 450 trees and counting) will continue to the west in South Parade, probably beyond the existing car park, due primarily to the massive drainage engineering works associated with the level crossing removal. And apparently the provision of even more car parking spaces in South Parade is far more important than the retention of trees.

The historic and valued low bluestone wall along the western section of the car park area is also in line for destruction. In addition the BLXRA’s proposed landscape and re-planting plan for the Blackburn Village precinct, from the brief and sketchy information we’ve been ‘drip-fed’ by the authority, is underwhelming and depressing (for example a number of environmental weed species are listed in the draft plant species list).

Is there any ‘good’ news?

  • The authority has nearly reached the limits of the works’ zone to the west and legally cannot go any further!?
  • Once the project is completed the authority will go away and the community and Council can reclaim Blackburn Village and start the process of local landscape revival and renewal
  • The Tree Society has been instrumental in securing an ‘offset’ planting program ofindigenous trees and lower storey vegetation within Whitehorse on State-owned land in the Nunawading Parklands, between Junction and Springvale Roads and the Eastern Freeway in Nunawading. The authority is required to provide offset planting to compensate for tree and vegetation loss in the Blackburn and Heatherdale works’ zones; however these offsets have historically been located well away from the works’ site (e.g. somewhere in East Gippsland). Successfully lobbying for replacement planting in Whitehorse is a big win for our community, but of little value to the Blackburn Village. For further information refer to the article on the Nunawading Parklands in this newsletter.
  • Respite from compulsory removal of trees in a few of the private residential gardens by the BLXRA ‘bully-boys’ in Glen Ebor Avenue and other properties adjoining the rail reserve.

The committee urges members to keep up the pressure on the BLXRA and state Labor politicians to mitigate the damage being caused by this project.

Click here to read about work at the Heatherdale Level Crossing as well as the proposed shared use path through Laburnum and Blackburn. The newsletter also gives an update on the Nunawading Parklands development and a proposal to construct a childcare centre at 25 Holland Road Blackburn South.

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