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Rail line hopes sinking

THE City of Perth Council is mounting an action committee to agitate for the new Perth to Mandurah rail line to be run underground between the city and Northbridge.

Councillors called a meeting last week to discuss the sinking of the rail line in the city with a number of key stakeholders, including property professionals, retired UWA Professor Martyn Webb, and Western Australian Government Railways acting commissioner of railways Reece Waldock.

The meeting was prompted by a State Government briefing to the City of Perth regarding the cost of sinking the rail line between the city and Northbridge.

Councillor Bert Tudori said the City of Perth councillors were determined to agitate to get the rail line sunk all the way to the Joondalup line tunnel near Fitzgerald Street.

“Quite obviously the Government is not going to lower it,” Cr Tudori said.

“They never actually said they were going to lower it; all Geoff Gallop and Alannah MacTiernan said was there was the potential for it to be lowered.

“They let us carry on thinking it was going to be lowered.”

Cr Tudori maintains the new train line and the Fremantle line should be sunk between the city and Northbridge, which would allow the two parts of the city to re-connect.

“We want the Mandurah tunnel to continue on to the Joondalup tunnel and the Fremantle line lowered, which would free up all the land from the freeway back to the Horseshoe Bridge,” Cr Tudori said.

“I maintain that values don’t count. We are doing something that should be done for the ambience of the city.

“We’re going to agitate for this to happen.”

Mr Waldock said he was surprised and disappointed at the emotional tone of the meeting at Council House last week.

“I feel the Government has gone out of its way to work with the council,” Mr Waldock said. “I think the officers [in the council] are still very happy. There was no lack of honesty or clarity, they [the Government] were very up front.

“I think the council just wants the Government to unequivocally say they will pay for it right now.”

The Government has estimated that he sinking of the rail line would ost an additional $39 million.

Mr Waldock said there was the possibility of selling off land adjacent to the Entertainment Centre, which has been valued at about $25 million.

The Government also said there was the possibility of developing a partnership with players from the private sector.

“And certainly we’d see the Perth City Council as a key player,” Mr Waldock said.

“To make this work we’ve got to work together and, at the end of the day, this is a wonderful opportunity to get this right.”

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