Beauty bulldozed for roundabout

Residents protest at the Berwick Springs entrance. 161236_01 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

IRATE residents say they have been surprised by plans to demolish and move the bluestone wall gateway at the up-market Berwick Springs estate.
About 100 protestors on 31 October gathered with placards such as “Merry Xmas from City of Casey” at the landscaped, tree-lined gateway at Greaves Road and Berwick Springs Promenade – which is set to make way for a roundabout.
Rally organiser Michael Ball, who has collected nearly 300 petition signatures against the move, says residents weren’t consulted on plans for an expanded roundabout moved 60 metres south of its current site on Greaves Road.
Mr Ball wondered why land to the north – comprising Moremac Property Group’s Alira housing precinct and Hallam Valley Contour Drain – wasn’t used instead.
“The residents here love our estate, they love the entrance and the beautifully landscaped gardens.
“It is a pleasure when you come home from work and turn around the roundabout and enter our estate with tree-lined streets and see the trees in bloom.
“Sadly, this will be removed, levelled and demolished.”
Mr Ball said he first heard of the project from construction workers on site last week.
Casey Council since confirmed with him that the works could start in weeks, he said.
“Had I not fallen across this, the first residents would know about this is when the bulldozers move in.
“(The council) also noted there was no need for community consultation as this was done via agency consultation.
“That being Casey, Moremac the developer, Vic Roads, South East Water and SP Ausnet.”
Mr Ball said the council told him there was no funding or design plan to relocate the entrance wall at this stage.
“I would have thought this would need to be confirmed before approving such an intrusive and destructive plan to demolish the entrance of our estate.”
The council’s city design and construction manager Trevor Griffin told Star News that residents had been consulted as part of a Berwick Springs Wetland Reserve master plan on the Casey Conversations website in March.
The masterplan simply noted that the “existing roundabout and entry environment” was “subject to change” due to VicRoads’ proposed roadworks.
The plan, and the subsequent council report, focused mainly on leisure facilities such as walking paths, picnic shelters, tennis court and public toilet.
Mr Griffin said the existing small-scale roundabout was an “interim arrangement” given the future duplication of Greaves Road.
“The proposed roundabout is much larger to accommodate increased traffic flows, and has been designed to meet safety standards for road design, minimise impact upon the contour drain to the north, fit within land set aside for the road and avoid land acquisition from private properties.”
Mr Griffin said the council and Moremac were aware of the community’s attachment to the bluestone entrance.
“The proposed plans seek to reinstate them as part of the roundabout construction project.”