RESIDENTS are bearing the brunt of Regional Rail Link works without reaping the benefits, a public meeting has heard.
RRL construction manager Adam Maguire, Maribyrnong mayor John Cumming and Bicycle Network Victoria's Jason denHollander fronted an at-times fiery meeting hosted by Greens transport spokesman Greg Barber in Seddon on Monday night.
Mr Maguire outlined the next phase of the project, detailing plans for improvements to West Footscray station.
Cr Cumming conceded the council and state government had historically failed in dealing with infrastructure around Geelong Road and local railway stations, but the RRL project offered improvements in the area.
Mr denHollander highlighted the headaches faced by inner-west cyclists and argued for the need for a boost to infrastructure.
Residents criticised the lack of consultation with the community and questioned why they would trust that there would be better communication in future. They also said that lengthy street closures were devastating Footscray traders.
Mr Maguire said the disruptions were unfortunate but necessary, and he gave assurances that Albert Street bridge works in Footscray would not begin until Nicholson Street works were completed.
Mr Maguire was unable to outline plans for parcels of land along the rail corridor once project construction was complete, but Cr Cumming said the council would push for more open space. "If we can squeeze extra green spaces out of Regional Rail, we'll be doing it."
Nick Fahey, of the Fair Go For Footscray Rail Residents group, said the project had been handled badly by both sides of government and action had only happened following a push by residents.
He said he supported the project and its benefits for Victoria, but "it's yet to be shown substantially how great it is for Footscray". "We're going to catch a lot of the damage - years of building which is destroying businesses in Footscray at the moment. They're going broke because they can't function around the work, so we're carrying a big part of the costs. The council and authorities should be saying, let's work out how to reduce the burden."