Kingston Mayor disappointed by Matthew Guy's threat to rip up the Bay Trail
9 April 2018
Statement from Kingston Mayor Steve Staikos:
I am really disappointed that the Opposition Leader Mr Matthew Guy would threaten to rip up the Kingston Bay Trail.
Not only has he threatened to rip up Council contracts but he is also saying that he will remove the Bay Trail so that Beach Road widths can go beyond the VicRoads standards.
Council has spent decades considering how to complete this important project and finally after much consultation and much debate we have come to a decision, now this could all be derailed because of Mr Guy.
For over 20 years the Bay Trail – a safe off-road path for pedestrians and recreational cyclists to walk, ride and run along Port Phillip Bay from Seaford right through to Port Melbourne – has been left unfinished due to a 3km gap in the Kingston section.
Council is keen to finally build the path to give young and inexperienced cyclists an alternative to riding along busy Beach Road.
Everyone wants the Bay Trail completed, however there are differing views about how this should happen: environmentalists want less foreshore vegetation removed while some would prefer that not even a centimetre of the roadway be used.
Council has found a practical compromise that strikes a balance between motorists, road cyclists, path users and the environment.
Beach Road will remain four lanes at a similar width to what already exists in neighbouring Bayside. We’ll be removing around 8270sqm of foreshore vegetation and using small parts of some sections of the road (an average of 30cm) to fit the path.
Following consultation, Council made changes including increasing vegetation removal to limit the number of car parks reduced and still provide around 900 car parking spaces.
Our plan to finally build the Bay Trail meets all VicRoads and Australian safety standards, is supported by Cycling Victoria and Bicycle Network Victoria as safe for cyclists, provides plenty of parking and protects the most environmentally significant areas of vegetation.
It’s just a shame that politics has gotten in the way of this vital community project.
The previous council had four years to resolve and adopt the bay trail alignment, but they failed to do so, one month prior to the council elections in September 2016 the council flagged a preferred alignment but this was not finalised and adopted by council.
Opponents to the plan have claimed there is no independent publicly available safety report. This is false.
As stated in the June 2017 Council report: Officers have sought expert advice from consulting traffic engineers Traffix Group which found the plan meets the Austroads standards to safely accommodate kerb-side parking and cyclists sharing a lane, and also meets the standards for a road at 60 km/h for the volume of traffic and heavy vehicles that use it. No safety concerns with this design were raised as part of the Traffix Group Road Safety Audit.
This information is publicly available on council’s website. Full text available here: http://www.kingston.vic.gov.au/baytrail
Opponents to the plan have claimed that 130 car parks will be lost. This is false.
Existing verge parking will simply be moved on-road – which is exactly the same as what already exists on the opposite side of the road next to houses. There will be sections of indented parking in Parkdale.
Opponents to the plan have claimed the vegetation is of no value. This is false.
All foreshore vegetation is protected by law and a planning permit is required for permission to remove any. Kingston has very little foreshore vegetation left and we need to protect as much as we can. Council’s plan removes a significant amount of vegetation – around 8270sqm – to accommodate the Bay Trail. But we’re keen to protect the most environmentally significant areas and to do so are using an average of 30cm of the road.