By Peter Douglas
CFA volunteers, community leaders and politicians on Thursday 28 September met at Montrose Fire Station to raise the profile around the proposed removal of the town’s major roundabout.
Federal funding of $20 million has been secured for the upgrade of the busy intersection, located near the town centre, which connects the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Swansea Road, Canterbury Road and Montrose Road.
Although many are in favour of an upgrade to address heavy peak-hour congestion, concerns have been raised about the present proposal from VicRoads, which includes introducing a third outbound lane, while removing the roundabout and installing traffic lights.
Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, Member for Eastern Victoria Ed O’Donohue, Monbulk candidate John Schurink and Montrose CFA Captain Rob Waters met to discuss the issue at length.
Montrose CFA fears the new lane will come at the cost of much of its car parking availability, for its more than 60 volunteers, as well as raising questions about the accessibility of the site.
Montrose CFA Captain Rob Waters said further investigation and consultation was needed.
“We’ve got 65 members, so on a training night it can be very busy. We need to make sure we have adequate parks for our members- that our vehicles will be safe,” Captain Waters said.
“We had an initial meeting with VicRoads in June, but there has been no further detail about what’s coming up.
“I’m positive about working with them (VicRoads), but it’s about making sure it’s the right remedy for the area. We’ve got to do something, but different options need investigation.”
Captain Waters feared the present proposal only provided a substandard solution, effectively moving the ‘bottleneck’ up the road.
Though, he admitted, concessions may need to be made.
Mr Schurink agreed, “something needs to be done with the roundabout … but some careful consideration and thoughts need to go into the impacts for business and locals”.
Mr Guy and Mr O’Donohue said Monbulk MP James Merlino needed to do more to address this problem.
Concerns have also been raised about the potential loss of vegetation, with red ribbons placed around the trees, which the community is concerned will be lost if the upgrade goes ahead as planned.
Meanwhile, the Montrose Township Group said more consultation was needed before any decision was finalised.
Group president Maryka Manatunga told the ‘Mail’ much of the community have been displeased at the lack of options and lack of consultation to date.
“We’re just concerned that we’ll end up being told of changes two days before. Lack of notification is what mainly concerns us,” she said.
“VicRoads has been reasonably responsive. They’ve held a meeting with Vic Roads, but we weren’t impressed when they essentially said the roundabout was going.
“We understand there needs to be change, but we want to be well-informed, as it represents a major change for the region.
“They need to cater for 20-plus years of population growth.”
Ms Manatunga said with the primary school nearby, there needed to be adequate thought given to the level of use by school-aged children and their parents.