This week residents have protested John Holland contractors putting up fencing to start the axing of trees in Gandolfo Gardens around Moreland Station. Fencing is going up today with a heavy police presence required due to community protests.
Temperatures set a new record in December, East Gippsland forests are on fire, but the state Government and Level Crossing Removal Authority will not consider using alternative construction methodologies with a lighter footprint, or move Morelan station south to avoid destroying 113 mature trees. Trees that provide habitat. Trees that provide shade and cool the local area through evapotranspiration, that provide relief to people on those extreme heat days. Trees that soak up torrential rain that help to prevent flash flooding.
Victoria police were used today to hold back protestors to allow the fencing to be established. But really this is the actions of Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan, who has refused to meet and consult with the community, to listen to the local community vision.
Local Pascoe Vale MP Lizzie Blandthorn, who signed a climate emergency declaration before the last state election, is nowhere to be seen justifying this destruction of trees in Gandolfo Gardens.
The community picket held work at bay for 3 days this week as an army of John Holland workers attempted to unload a large truck of fencing to lock us out of our own park.
On Wednesday the 50-strong group of locals said ‘No’, chanting ‘save our trees’ and ‘move the station south’.
We linked arms and blocked access to the truck, singing in unison as we defied workers’ and police requests to move.
The vibe of the day was determined, calm and in control. We held our nerve in an intimidating situation.
We should all be incredibly proud of our bravery and how we conducted ourselves.
Cr Sue Bolton commented on Thursday afternoon:
We have all been evicted from Gandolfo Gardens now. The parents with their kids were among the last people forced to leave by the police. People are devastated about their special trees getting cut down