Scotch College has reached an in-principle agreement with Transurban concerning key issues related to additional protection from traffic noise and land reinstatement and landscaping.
Words: Tim Shearer Photography: Cloud 9
Compensation for the loss of land and amenity resulting from Transurban’s expansion of the Southern Link of the Monash Tollway remains the key outstanding issue for the Scotch College team overseeing the school’s involvement with the tollway widening.
Construction workers and equipment began preparatory work on the Scotch College site and the nearby H.A. Smith Reserve in the middle of August, with full construction activities getting underway during September.
After negotiations with the school, Transurban has agreed to try to complete the most disruptive initial construction work during the September school holidays, so that classes and other school operations are not unduly affected.
The school administration has been advised that construction activities will continue for more than a year. Construction equipment is expected to remain on the Scotch College site until 31 July 2009. The school and Transurban continue to discuss ways in which construction work can continue with the least possible disruption to the school throughout this period.
The tough negotiating approach taken by the College Council committee overseeing the school’s involvement with the tollway expansion has resulted in generally acceptable outcomes on the key issues of traffic noise pollution and reinstatement of affected land on the southern boundary of the school site.
Scotch College has reached in-principle agreement with Transurban concerning key issues related to additional protection from traffic noise and land reinstatement and landscaping.
Design details of planned new noisewalls on the widened roadway remain to be settled. However, acoustics consultants advising Transurban and Scotch College have worked together to develop a noisewall solution which both enables Transurban to comply with its contractual obligations and at the same time reinstates the extra noise protection Scotch College paid for when CityLink was built in the 1990s.
At that time, Scotch College paid a considerable sum for a larger noisewall than Transurban was legally obliged – or willing - to build. The school took on this financial burden to ensure students and staff were exposed to traffic noise levels the school considered could be tolerated, though still worse than international standards.
Transurban has agreed to build an additional noisewall near the H.A Smith Reserve on the northern side of the freeway over Glenferrie Road, in order to reduce traffic noise affecting the school at the Glenferrie Road end of the campus. This wall is also expected to reduce the noise affecting Scotch’s residential neighbours.
Transurban will also replace the existing noisewall on the College’s southern boundary with a barrier large enough and appropriately designed to provide noise protection no less effective than Scotch originally paid for. This new noisewall will be provided at no additional cost to Scotch College.
It should be noted, though, that this noise protection remains below international standards for educational facilities. Victorian authorities do not recognise or enforce the international standard.
Scotch College and its landscape consultants, ERM, can take credit for a land reinstatement and landscaping solution that should significantly reduce the need in future for any additional widening of the tollway to encroach further into the College’s usable land.
Reinstatement of the land on Scotch’s southern boundary will be based on a design and landscaping / construction concept originally proposed by Scotch and further developed with Transurban. The design is intended to meet flood mitigation requirements for Gardiner’s Creek while maximising the use of remaining land in an aesthetically pleasing way.
The design incorporates ‘gabion’ retaining walls – constructed from rock-filled wire cages – to create banks and ‘bund’ walls at appropriate locations along the school’s southern boundary. The ‘gabion’ wall solution is increasingly being used internationally and has been used to provide aesthetically pleasing flood protection at Flemington Racecourse, among several prominent locations.
While this landscaping solution will ultimately permit Scotch to make the most effective use of remaining land, construction work in the next 18 months to two years will significantly affect the school’s ability to schedule and conduct some sports activities.
The tollway intersects most closely along the Melville Oval and Transurban temporary fencing will be erected across part of the oval and its surrounds. This will restrict use of the oval and will at least require re-scheduling of sports activities.
As well, construction vehicles and equipment will enter and leave the College campus directly via Glenferrie Road. Much of the equipment will be stored along the perimeter of the H. A. Smith Reserve. The College administration will need to respond to significant construction related activity along the whole of the School’s southern boundary.
As well, the administration and the Council tollway committee will continue working to resolve the issue of compensation to which the College is entitled.
As well as the 11 metre-wide strip of land to be used for construction and returned to the school, a strip of land up to 2.85 metres wide along the school’s southern perimeter has been compulsorily and permanently acquired to permit the roadway to be expanded. The College is seeking fair and reasonable monetary compensation for the lost land and also for the loss of amenity the tollway widening will cause.
Meanwhile, the College Council acknowledges the considerable extra workload that the tollway widening has imposed on the Bursar, Ross Congleton and his team. The council committee, chaired by Dr David Kemp and comprising Cam Johnston, Michael Sim and John Simpson, continues to contribute extraordinary amounts of time and effort to ensure Scotch achieves the best possible outcomes from the tollway widening. GS
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)