Major breakthrough on integrated design but noise and toxic soil monitoring still deadlocked

Negotiations between Kensington Association representatives and the Metro Tunnel constructors are now into their fourth month with slow but encouraging progress.

Integrated Design

Negotiations this week with RPV/CYP/RIA senior management saw another potential breakthrough with agreement on an integrated design for the precinct to be led by the City of Melbourne.  The Association wants a multi-faceted approach to the works that includes: Noise barriers along Childers Street to the east of South Kensington station, a redeveloped South Kensington station; a commitment to utilise the land acquired at 135 Ormond Street (opposite the station) for public purpose, probably a park/piazza; and a sympathetic design for the new ancillary building being built next to the station by CYP andthe 3-4 m high flood wall (running the length of Childers Street) to be built by RIA. We would also like a new linear park west from Kensington Road to the Maribyrnong River along the high voltage tower easement.

To deliver this vision, many parties need to collaborate, including:  Rail Projects Victoria, contractors (CYP and RIA), AUSNET, the state government and the City of Melbourne.

But noise, vibration and toxic soil, not so good…

Unfortunately, similar progress has not been made on the contentious issues of noise, vibration and toxic soil and groundwater. Our claim here is simple: “We want transparency”.

This project will create a lot of noise and vibration: e.g. 130 driven piles to ~18 metres depth in the new year, over a 10-week period close to Kensington Road, the Venny and the childcare centre.

Likewise, what could possibly go wrong with the removal of some 40,000 cubic metres of (potentially contaminated) soil?

As most are aware, JJ Holland Park used to be a dump and the soil (buried below about a metre of clean topsoil) contains high levels of asbestos, arsenic, mercury, lead and various legacy by-products of the meatworks, tannery, munitions plant etc that once operated in what is now Kensington Banks.

We simply ask that the contractors tell us the results of soil sampling and set up permanent monitoring for noise, vibration and dust. This request has been rejected with accusations that we “lack trust” (yep, they really said that).

Cold comfort for the residents of Ormond Street whose babies can’t sleep because of the noise and who daily wipe fine white dust off their dining room tables……..


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