Stuck in the Slow Lane

Whitehorse Leader 14th August 2017

Overhaul of Box Hill’s crowded transport interchange ‘at least 10 years away’

COMMUTER pain in Box Hill is set to drag on for at least another decade, according to a long-awaited State Government report the Whitehorse Leader successfully fought to make public.

Hopes for a fix were dashed with the report revealing major changes to the public transport interchange could only happen when Vicinity Centres, the owner of Box Hill Central, was ready to upgrade the shopping centre.

Instead, the Government will set up a steering committee to create a case for the redevelopment of the interchange, which was a recommendation in the report.

Vicinity Centres spokeswoman Ali O’Shea said the company was only in the early stages of preparing a long-term master plan to redevelop the centre.“We have a fantastic opportunity to redevelop this strategic asset into a worldclass destination that people love to visit by offering enhanced dining, shopping and entertainment along with public transport connectivity,” Ms O’Shea said.

But the report states master planning for any redevelopment would take up to five years and work could be 10 years away.

The report found the interchange was the second busiest train-bus hub in Melbourne, and the 10th busiest train station overall, with commuter use expected to increase by more than 45 per cent by 2031.

It also found the “boom” in building activity around central Box Hill — with 2300 dwellings approved in the previous four years

— had created traffic congestion, resulting in bus reliability issues.

Box Hill state Liberal MP Robert Clark accused the Government of delivering another “talkfest’’.

“Labor promised voters before the 2014 election that their advisory group would provide a clear direction for the interchange, but after all this time the group has produced no real direction at all,’’ Mr Clark said.

Whitehorse Mayor Denise Massoud said the upgrade was “vital”.