FRANKSTON councillors have finally adopted a united front against any possibility of sky rail along the Frankston line after unanimously backing rail under road as Frankston Council’s official position on level crossing removals.
Councillors last month deferred a decision on opposing elevated rail last month.
Frankston Council’s decision to formally oppose elevated rail follows neighbouring Kingston Council’s stance against sky rail adopted in May.
At last week’s council meeting Frankston councillors voted to tell the state government tthey did not support elevated rail to separate rail and road at Seaford Rd in Seaford and Skye/Overton Rd crossings in Frankston.
But council’s adopted position on a third level crossing removal, at Eel Race Rd in Seaford, could put council on a collision course with the state government.
Councillors backed a council officer report that proposed the Eel Race Rd level crossing, near Patterson River Secondary College, remain in place due to lower road traffic at the crossing.
It costs about $150 million to remove each level crossing and council would prefer the money earmarked for Eel Race Rd works to be funnelled towards Frankston train station upgrades or the electrification of the rail line to Baxter.
“We have assessed the level crossing removal options at each nominated site and reached a considered and well balanced decision that is in the best interests of the Frankston community,” mayor Cr James Dooley said.
“There still remains the question of local geology, which will be explained by the Level Crossing Removal Authority to council later this year.
“We will not support any option that considers the removal of housing and both council and the community have made it clear that the sensitive coastal environment in Frankston is highly valued and must be protected.”
Council says it will back road under rail if the Eel Race Rd level crossing is removed.
The Labor state government has signalled it does not intend to back away from its plan to remove the Eel Race Rd crossing.
“We won’t break our promise to this community,” Bob Neilson, a spokesman for Acting Public Transport Minister Luke Donnellan, said. “We said we would get rid of this dangerous level crossing and we will.”
Despite both councils’ opposition to sky rail Simon Johnson, founder of the noskyrail.com.au group, still fears the state government has plans for elevated rail along some parts of the Frankston line.
“There will be some form of sky rail – you can call it rollercoaster style – presented as an option on the Frankston line,” Mr Johnson said when he addressed councillors at last week’s meeting.