State takes over Green Spine project
THE state government has taken the Green Spine project in central Geelong out of the hands of the City of Greater Geelong council, describing the city as “reckless” for its plan to make a reported $2 million in changes.
Earlier this month, the council resolved, by a single vote, to respond to complaints about traffic congestion along Malop Street to make several modifications to the project, including removing a separated bike lane on the north side of the Green Spine, re-instating right-turn lanes on the east approach to Moorabool Street and the west approach, and the installation of more two-hour on-street car parks.
The state government – which contributed $8 million to the initiative – has criticised the council since the latter first flagged its intentions to alter the first section of the Green Spine, and last week made good on its threat to take over, with Minister for Roads Jaala Pulford writing to the council to direct them not to undertake any works that are not in line with the Green Spine project.
Under Victoria’s Road Management Act, the state government will declare the Mercer Street, Malop Street and Garden Street corridor a Designated Road Project under state control.
“I won’t stand by and watch a reckless council take a wrecking ball to our beautiful Green Spine,” Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said.
“Spending $2 million ripping up work already done in Malop Street is a backwards step and waste of money.
“The Green Spine is an important part of the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan and a fundamental part of securing the economic success of our city.”
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher described the state government’s decision as “very disappointing, but not unexpected”, and said it now fell to the state government to solve the bus issue in central Geelong.
“With responsibility for this street now resting entirely with the state government for the duration of the project, we look forward to seeing them move quickly with the next stage, which is awaiting the release of funding.
“Council has been asking the state
government for decisions around location of the bus interchange for as long as I can remember. At this stage, there is a difference of opinion within the state government and no progress on a decision.”