Getting freight hub moving
I read with great interest the report "BWEZ freight hub hold-up" (The Courier, Jan 8th 2018). Maybe it is time for the facts to be told about what appears to be another stuff up by the authorities in charge of this project. The BWEZ is steaming ahead with the railway overpass, the associated road-works well on the way to completion, and the huge grain processing complex growing day by day. The huge temporary grain bunker and associated silos and towers near the Ring Road are growing by the day, with dozens of trucks delivering grain. A large transport depot is rapidly coming to completion further over in the new BWEZ. The $100 million state of the art brewery complex is also on the way.
With all of this going on we read that Development Victoria CEO, Gregory Anderson said, (quote Courier) "work is continuing on the delivery of the Freight Hub component of (BWEZ)" but declined to offer a timeline around when works within BWEZ were likely to begin". What a pathetic response from a senior departmental officer. The question could be asked, "Does anyone know just what is going on regarding the proposed Freight Hub and the proposed rail stabling yard at Wendouree?"
I have a great idea; how about we halt all works planned to convert the Goods Shed at the Ballarat Railway Station.. This would allow the allocated funds ($19 million) to be transferred to the BWEZ Freight Hub project and added to the $9.1 million of Federal money sitting with the Andrews State Government ($28.1m). We don't need the convention centre at present but we do need a modern Freight Hub at BWEZ. The standard gauge rail line could be extended to the BWEZ (Ararat, Ballarat, Geelong), and the upgrade of the Wendouree station second platform and associated car parking, proposed passenger train stabling yard could all be completed at the one time, saving millions and getting hundreds of thousands of large trucks off the roads. I am also advised there is enough grain container traffic to make the freight hub pay for itself in the short term. BWEZ and Ballarat would certainly be on the move forward.
Paul Jenkins, Alfredton.