VICTORIAN Planning Minister Richard Wynne last month signed off on the Environmental Effects Statement for the $10.9 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel project, which will deliver a 9-kilometre rail link between South Kensington and South Yarra and include five new underground stations.
As a result of the EES, 119 fewer trees will be lost, Fawkner Park will no longer be used for the project and property acquisition in Kensington has been reduced from 22 to one.
The Minister has also requested further action from the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority to minimise impacts on the community, businesses and surrounding heritage.
The MMRA is also required to set up new stakeholder groups along the alignment to work with communities during construction of the project.
A business disruption plan, a traffic and transport work group and new guidelines for construction noise levels have also been requested in the final EES.
The draft EES was released in 2016 for consultation and 379 submissions were received. Submissions focused on noise and vibration from tunnelling, changes to traffic and transport, loss of trees, impacts on open space, heritage and the impact on communities and businesses around the works.
An independent committee sat for 33 days between August and October, hearing from 115 parties, before making recommendations to the minister.
The independent EES Panel assessed proposals to build a deeper Domain Station and determined that the shallow station provides the greatest benefit for the 40,000 passengers who will use the station each day.