Peninsula sculpture deal mocks environment

What is a well-heeled art gallery near the Mornington Peninsula doing aiding and abetting a freeway project that is trashing the environment within 100 metres of its own door?

According to a report in The Age on 25 January the well-heeled McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park in Langwarrin is to be paid $4 million to provide sculptures along the Peninsula Link freeway, now being constructed from Carrum Downs to Mt Martha.

The Linking Melbourne Authority, the Victorian government agency responsible for the project, and the Southern Way consortium which is building the freeway have both refused to publicly disclose details of the sculpture deal.

In an unfortunate turn of phrase director Robert Lindsay told The Age the gallery will “eventually be a green oasis in this area.” The construction of the freeway itself is environmentally degrading with the removal of substantial bushland along its route, including on the Westerfield property in Langwarrin and which was recognised in a state government report to include three hectares of rare bushland of state conservation significance.

The Mornington Peninsula has for years been acknowledged by the Victorian government as a vital element in the “green lungs” of Melbourne. However, projects like Peninsula Link, which is estimated to cost the public nearly $800 million, will make the Mornington Peninsula more car dependent. Public transport is for practical purposes near enough to non-existent on the Peninsula.

Ambitions to extend the freeway to Rye and plans to develop a container port at Hastings would further erode the local environment. Collectively they would comprise a bizarre and alarming lurch in the wrong direction at a time when Ross Garnaut and others warn that due to continuing failure in political leadership we now face a 4 degree increase in global temperatures and catastrophic climate change.

So the McClelland Gallery’s Mr Lindsay will have his green oasis – in the middle of where? And to house the sculpture pieces for the Peninsula Link perimeter – it’s tempting to see them as mocking artefacts of environmental indifference, a kind of treat for dazed travellers on the macadamised gash that was once a rural and bush landscape.

Placing gimmicky and distracting features along new freeways has become a trend. They were introduced onto EastLink. Who knows what the freeway spinmeisters might have in store if North East Link were ever to be built?

The Heritage Listed Westerfields Property before the destruction by the Brumby government.

The same location with the road reservation for Peninsula Link a month later.


About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Car Dependency, Freeway Art, Ne-Link Freeway. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Peninsula sculpture deal mocks environment

  1. VivKay says:

    The destruction of wildlife habitat and the little birds that tried to warn off the bulldozers near their nests is a poignant image that illustrates how the red-necks who want “progress” are completely environmentally illiterate. Concrete “art” cannot hide the reality of destruction and environmental vandalism. The Peninsula Link is all about joining up Melbourne from Rosebud to create one big urban sprawl, accessible by road from one end to another by freeways. Peak oil is being blatantly denied. The Peninsula is just another suburb now, hardly a holiday resort. We have moved beyond objecting to Melbourne@ 5 million. We are now ready for the next stage – Melbourne @ 8 million and more! Toxic urban sprawl and population growth are great consumers and destroyers of any natural beauty, and ecological and human health.

    • Hi VivKay, Thanks for your comment. I think we should be particularly concerned what will happen to Heide Gallery of Modern Art who is in the path of the North East Link. As they are funded by the NGV and therefore the State of Victoria, it could be assumed that silence on the issue of the freeway will be a continuing theme. Will there be giant Ned Kelly’s lining the proposed NE link freeway, on the approach of Heide, through what will have been a unique and historical landscape, the birthplace of the Australian Impressionist Art Movement as well as the Modernists and 85 ha of recreational facitlities for Melburnian’s? FOB attended the Banyule City Council Meeting last night to find out that there is a proposal to review planning schemes along the Yarra. The Council moved a recommendation to be exempt from this review due to the higher complexities involved if there were two planning schemes active in one municipality. This issue also concerns inappropriate development along the Yarra thus further reducing natural open space and impacting on the Yarra landscape and floodplains. If you are interested there is more info on the Banyule City Council Website (Meeting Agenda) about this important topic:

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