Houses to be replaced by freeway

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram “We live in a beautiful dead end street, it is a great little pocket and who knows what is going to happen now. We will probably be opening our front door to the mouth of a tunnel, we do not know what is going on,” Ballarat Street resident Patricia Sakellaris tells Neos Kosmos.She is one of hundreds of residents in North Collingwood, Victoria that are at risk of losing their houses to make way for a freeway extension.Residents from Ballarat Street, Gold Street, and Bendigo Street received a letter last week from the government saying their houses will be acquired by the state.While Mrs Sakellaris didn’t receive a letter, her adjoining neighbours did, raising confusion as to what will be built next to her home.The government has said the final drafts for the planned East-West link from the Eastern Freeway won’t be completed until next year.In the mean time, the housing market around the area will be heavily influenced and could lead to heavy depreciations in house prices.Mrs Sakellaris and her partner Stavros purchased their dream home in 2011.Now with so much uncertainty, Mrs Sakellaris has been looking in the paper for house listings to move away from the doomed street.“The thing is we bought this house because it is a lovely and spacious home, we paid extra for that, a triple fronted house with a backyard,” she says.“I started looking at properties in case if we have to move but there is nothing available. We do not know what is going to happen, how we are going to live here if we decide to stay. Our house is our lifetime investment, I picked it close to a school I wanted my son to go.”92 homes and 26 business premises are likely to be acquired to make way for stage one of the East-West link. The area is home to many elderly Greek residents who have lived here for years.Official acquisition notices are not expected to arrive until the middle of next year, but preliminary letters were circulated last week.The government has promised that property owners would be compensated at market value, plus legal costs. At the moment, the project is predicted to cost $6 to $8 billion dollars and only $1.5 billion has been promised by the Federal Coalition government. City of Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly says the State government’s premature actions have unnecessarily caused anguish to residents and affected house prices. They will be seeking legal action against the government.“What they’ve (the State government) done is stressed out all these residents and they told them they are going to lose their homes for a project they don’t even have the money for,” he told Neos Kosmos.“What they had done is illegal, we are prepared to take an injunction from the Supreme court. With their actions in the last 48 hours, they undermined the property values, they’ve taken away tens of thousands if not more of the value of the properties of individuals.”Lawyers have remarked that the amount of compensation they receive could be boosted by up to 10 per cent if it can be shown that the loss of their home will cause “pain and suffering”.Shadow Treasurer Tim Pallas has voiced his concern over the lack of transparency in the project.“We’ve seen this community treated in a tawdry fashion while this government only continues to provided dotted lines on a map,” he said last week. last_img