Melbourne Metro Rail Project

The Trust has responded the the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) released by the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA).

The EES proposes a preferred course and construction method for the Melbourne Metro Rail Project (MMRP) which would introduce two 9km tunnels and five new underground stations beneath Melbourne’s CBD.  The Trust is concerned that, if the preferred option was to be selected, the project would have a severe impact on natural heritage.  It would result in widespread losses of healthy mature trees from some of Melbourne’s most historically significant parklands and boulevards.

The EES documents include alternative options which allow for the retention of many mature, healthy trees, and the National Trust strongly encourages that these options be pursued. For the King’s Domain and Shrine reserve, areas considered sacrosanct by Victorians, alternative options must be engaged to avoid irreversible impacts.

As outlined in our submission, the Trust also has concerns for the impacts on built heritage places.  These generally relate to vibrations, demolition, and construction around the proposed station sites. These impacts should be mitigated through sensitive design, and the retention or relocation of historic fabric where practicable with further investigation required on the heritage impacts at Federation Square.  You can read our submission in full:  Melbourne Metro Rail Project – National Trust submission

See below for an outline of our main concerns:

Domain Parklands – The National Trust has serious concerns regarding the soil stabilisation techniques proposed for use in the Domain, in the event that the ‘upper’ tunnel alignment under the Yarra but over the CityLink tunnels is approved.  The King’s Domain and its plantings have historical associations with Baron Von Mueller, William Guilfoyle, Carlo Catani and Hugh Linaker, giving it an unrivalled pedigree of curatorship in Victoria.  Further, many trees within the Domain Parklands along the project footprint are commemorative trees which are culturally significant in their own right, often dedicated to eminent Victorians, organisations, or military personnel, battalions, vessels or conflicts. It is alarming to consider that these soil stabilisation works will kill many of these trees and render the area unable to be reinstated to its current condition due to the amount of concrete pumped into the soil. This is not a temporary impact. The effect of these works in removing the entire tree canopy will be seen and felt in this area for generations.  Click here to read the Herald Sun article.

Proposed Domain Station – A total of 223 trees will require removal in this area, with more than half (134) being healthy mature trees. In close proximity to the Shrine, this area includes many dedicated trees, both mature examples and juvenile specimens planted as part of the recent landscaping works at the Shrine. Many of these trees commemorate specific sections of the armed forces. These trees form part of the Shrine of Remembrance and should be given due respect with every effort made to retain them as part of the detailed design.

Former Victorian Railways Carpenters Shop – The proposed underground Arden Station, to be located to the north of North Melbourne Station, is expected to impact on the former Victorian Railways Carpenters Shop on the site.  The Trust understands that this heritage building has undergone sensitive adaptive reuse and now has a dual use as a carpentry workshop and event venue, making a positive contribution to this important urban renewal precinct. The Trust is advocating for its retention rather than its recording and demolition, as recommended in the project’s Historical Impact Assessment.

Flinders Gate Precinct – The Trust is concerned by the proposed demolition of a number of graded buildings in the Flinders Gate precinct.  The National Trust opposes the demolition of 65 Swanston Street as an unacceptable detrimental impact to the precinct.  222 Flinders Street should be retained in full to the extent of all original external fabric, with the carriageway utilised to provide pedestrian access from the station through to Flinders Street. The Trust understands that priority has been given to preserving older heritage places in the immediate vicinity of the Port Phillip Arcade and that it provides the best (and only) option to achieve direct pedestrian access to Flinders Street Station from the City South portal.  However, we submit that the Port Phillip Arcade building should be recorded and the Charles Bush sculpture should be conserved and incorporated into any new design.  More on the impacts to the CBD can be found in the Age.

Burke and Wills Statue – The Trust notes that the Burke and Wills Statue may need to be relocated and stored during construction, or permanently relocated due to the new configuration of pedestrian access to the CBD South station. Rather than put the monument in storage for the duration of construction, the National Trust and the Royal Society of Victoria are united in their recommendation that the Burke and Wills monument should be relocated to the grounds of the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) on Victoria Street. The RSV were the sponsors of the ill-fated expedition. Later, when Burke and Wills were laid out for mourning in the hall of the RSV, 86,000 Melbournians were reported to have filed past to pay their respects. The RSV is a logical and respectful location for the monument to Burke and Wills.

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